China and India have negotiated a solution to a more than two-month-long standoff on a remote Himalayan plateau, ending a stalemate that had raised concerns about a potential military conflict, the Wall Street Journal reports.
But statements on Monday from both sides created confusion over terms of the detente. India’s Foreign Ministry said the two sides had agreed to the “expeditious disengagement of border personnel of India and China at the face-off site.” Beijing said Indian troops had withdrawn and, responding to a question about Chinese troop deployments, said it would make “necessary adjustments.”
The dispute began in mid-June after Indian soldiers halted Chinese efforts to construct a road in an area claimed by China and Bhutan, a close Indian ally sandwiched between the two Asian giants. India doesn’t claim the territory in question, known as the Dolam Plateau, but said defending it was crucial to protecting its own security and the interests of Bhutan. Bhutan had asked China to retreat until the boundary dispute between them was settled.
Beijing had for weeks accused India of “illegal trespassing” and called on Indian soldiers to withdraw.
Neither side would comment on whether Beijing would abandon its road-building project as part of Monday’s deal. China’s Foreign Ministry said border guards would continue to patrol the disputed area.
Monday’s announcement came days before a summit of the BRICS countries, scheduled to take place in the Chinese city of Xiamen in early September. That meeting—between the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—was likely to be overshadowed by the border dispute between its two prominent members.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet after weeks of acrimony and charged rhetoric. Chinese media has run commentary reminding India of a 1962 war between the two countries that China won.
Officials and analysts around the world have been watching to see how the two countries resolve the issue. China is also embroiled in potentially destabilizing maritime disputes with other Asian countries.
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