China protests Indian troops 'crossing boundary'
China on Tuesday lodged a protest with India over the alleged "crossing of boundary" by its troops in the Sikkim section and demanded their immediate withdrawal, as Beijing warned that future visits of Indian pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar will depend on the resolution of the standoff.
"Our position to uphold our territorial sovereignty is unwavering. We hope the Indian side can work with China in the same direction and immediately withdraw the personnel who have overstepped and trespassed into Chinese border," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing here.
"We have lodged solemn representations in Beijing and New Delhi to elaborate on our solemn position," he said.
About the fate of the pilgrims headed to Kailash and Mansarovar, who had returned to Gangtok after denial of permission by China to enter Tibet, Lu said their visit was called off because of security reasons. He also linked future visits of pilgrims to India "withdrawing the troops" from the area.
"As to Indian pilgrims' journey through Nathu La pass at Sikkim section, I think the Indian side is very clear about this. For a long time the Chinese government has made enormous efforts to provide the necessary convenience to those Indian pilgrims," Lu said.
"But recently the Indian border personnel trespassed Chinese border to obstruct our construction, we have taken necessary actions. Out of security consideration, we have to put off the pilgrimage by the Indian pilgrims through the Chinese pass," he said.
"On the upcoming actions, we have to depend on what the Indian side will do. They have to take action to improve the security situation," Lu said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang on Monday night said, "China urges India to immediately withdraw its border guards that have crossed the boundary and have a thorough investigation of this matter."
Geng's statement comes after tension mounted in a remote area of Sikkim following a scuffle between the personnel of the Indian Army and the PLA, leading to Chinese troops damaging bunkers on the Indian side of the border.