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China dismisses concerns about border enforcement

China

Beijing said it hoped “relevant countries” would not make “wanton speculation over normal legislation” a day after India raised grave worries about a new land border law to be passed by China. India said on Wednesday that the new Chinese land border law, which will take effect on January 1, should not be used to legitimise Beijing’s activities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and raised “alarm” about it.

The law, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), should not be used as a “pretext” to formalise any of the Chinese military’s recent acts, including deploying thousands of troops in forward regions and committing serial violations in violation of previous border accords. The MEA said China’s “unilateral decision to bring about legislation which can have implications on our existing bilateral arrangements is of concern to us.”

The border law assigns different tasks to the Chinese military and local governments in border areas, including drills for the military and increased border development projects for local governments. Construction of civilian settlements known as frontier villages in contested areas along the India-Bhutan border is one of these projects.

Responding to India’s concerns, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it “hopes relevant countries will abide by norms of international relations and refrain from wanton speculations on China’s normal domestic legislation.”

Its spokesperson Wang Wenbin stated, “The National Land Boundary Law was adopted at the 31st Session of the Standing Committee of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress of China on October 23. On the same day, President Xi Jinping signed Order No. 99 of the President of the People’s Republic of China and issued the document, which is proclaimed to be enforced from January 1, 2022. This law consists of seven chapters and 62 articles. It stipulates clearly the leadership system and division of duties among different departments as well as between military and civilian authorities. It also offers clear provisions regarding delineation and demarcation of national land boundaries, defense and management of national land boundaries and borders, and international cooperation in national land boundary affairs.”

He stressed that the “main purpose for formulating and promulgating this law is to further coordinate, regulate and strengthen boundary management and advance international cooperation in relevant fields.” Mr. Wang added, “It will not affect China’s compliance with existing treaties related to national land boundary affairs China has already signed or change China’s current mode of boundary management and cooperation with countries sharing a land boundary with it. Nor will it alter China’s position and proposition on relevant boundary issues.”

The MEA stated on Wednesday that “unilateral moves” would have “no bearing” on past agreements struck by the two parties. Many of these accords, however, are in jeopardy as a result of China’s military operations along the LAC last year, with the problem in eastern Ladakh still unresolved after multiple rounds of discussions.

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