China on Thursday said the withdrawal of Indian troops from what it said was its territory was a “precondition” for a “meaningful dialogue” over the border stand-off.
The toughened stand by Beijing means that the pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar, put off by China in the wake of the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops, won’t resume till both sides sort out their row in the area Donglong which Beijing calls its own.
“We urge the Indian side to withdraw troops back to the Indian side of the boundary,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said. “This is the precondition for the settlement of the incident and also the basis for us to conduct a meaningful dialogue.
“I think diplomatic channel of communication remains unimpeded,” he added. China also brushed aside Bhutan’s protest against Beijing building a road towards a Bhutanese Army camp in Zomplri area of Doklam or Donglong, calling the “construction “just and lawful in Chinese territory”.
Donglong and Doklam is a disputed territory between China and Bhutan where troops from the People’s Liberation Army and the India Army had scuffled.
“Donglong has been Chinese territory since ancient time. This is an indisputable territory and we have adequate legal basis concerning this,” Lu said.
“And this is just a sovereign action by China to conduct the road construction in its territory. This is totally justifiable and lawful.”