BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday defended a new border law following criticism by India that it might disrupt the resolution of a 17-month-old standoff over disputed territory in the remote Ladakh region that has led to violent clashes.
The law approved Sunday says Beijing will “combat any act that undermines territorial sovereignty and land boundaries." That prompted an appeal by India's foreign ministry Wednesday not to use it to change conditions in border areas.
The law is in line with international practice, said China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.
It won't “change China’s positions and propositions on relevant border-related issues," Wang said at a regular news briefing.
Without mentioning India by name, Wang expressed hope the “relevant country will abide by the basic norms governing international relations and not make speculations about China’s normal legislation."
The two governments have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers with artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their frontier in Ladakh.
The Line of Actual Control separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims. India and China fought a 1962 war over the border.
Talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders to disengage troops from key areas along their border ended without agreement this month.
Last year, 20 Indian troops were killed in a fight with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists. China said it lost four soldiers.