Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang’s Regular Press Conference on September 12, 2017
Q: First, it has been a while since India and China resolved the issue of Dong Lang standoff on August 28. Will China consider reopening the pilgrimage route via the Nathu-la pass in the Sikkim Sector for India pilgrims to go to Xi Zang? Second, China has not handed over relevant hydrological data to the Indian side apparently due to the standoff. As the relevant hydrological data are quite important in predicting the flood situation in the downstream, will China resume providing relevant hydrological data?
A: As for your first question, for a long time, in the interests of China-India friendly relations, the Chinese side has made enormous efforts against all odds to facilitate officially-organized Indian pilgrims’ trip to Xi Zang. In the light of the consensus reached between the leaders of China and India, and the fact that the Sikkim Sector of the China-India boundary has been delimited as recognized by both countries, the Chinese side approved the opening of the pilgrimage route via the Nathu-la pass in the Sikkim Sector of the China-India boundary for officially-organized Indian pilgrims in 2015. The arrangements ran well over the past two years. In June this year, due to the Indian border troops’ illegal crossing of the China-India boundary in the Sikkim Sector into the Chinese territory, the situation of the border area became tense. Out of security concerns, the Chinese side put off arranging officially-organized Indian pilgrims to go to Xi Zang via the Nathu-la pass. The Chinese side attaches importance to the non-governmental contacts and people-to people and cultural exchanges between China and India and is willing to continue maintaining communication on the relevant matters concerning the officially-organized Indian pilgrims’ visit to China.
Regarding your second question, for a long time, the Chinese side has overcome all sorts of difficulties to conduct cooperation with the Indian side in such areas as the hydrological flood reporting of trans-border rivers. Last year, due to the needs for reconstruction after being damaged by the flood and out of such technological reasons as upgrading and renovation, the relevant hydrological stations in China do not have the conditions to collect relevant hydrological data now. As regards whether the providing of relevant hydrological data will be resumed, it depends on the progress of the above-mentioned work.
Q: As for the reasons for not providing the relevant hydrological data to the Indian side mentioned by you, has the Chinese side informed the Indian government of these reasons?
A: As far as I know, the Indian side is clear about this.