Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang’s Regular Press Conference on July 7, 2017
Q: First, the Malabar naval exercises between India, the US and Japan will start on July 9 in the Bay of Bengal, which will be the biggest of its kind so far. What are your comments on that? Second, there was a common understanding between the Chinese and Indian special representatives on boundary affairs in 2012 that the tri-junction would only be finalized after consultation with Bhutan. This suggests the recognition of disputes over the tri-junction. How do you comment to that?
A: On your first question, we have stated on many occasions that we have no objection to the development of normal relations and cooperation between countries. We hope such relations and cooperation are not targeted at a third party and are conducive to regional peace and stability.
Regarding your question on the tri-junction, we have given the answer previously and I will reiterate our stance. Just as its name implies, the tri-junction is a point rather than a line or an area. The Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet (1890) clearly stipulates that the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary commences at Mount Gipmochi in the east. The illegal trespass by the Indian troops took place at the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary over 2000 meters away from Mount Gipmochi and has nothing to do with the tri-junction. The Indian side, in disregard of the boundary convention, takes the whole Doklam area as part of the tri-junction. This is obviously an attempt out of ulterior motives. The Indian side tries to introduce the concept of tri-junction into this incident and equate that point with an area. They are misleading the public.
Q: You have been referring on and off about the Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet (1890), does that cover the Doklam area or the tri-junction?
A: The tri-junction is a point rather than a line or an area. The Indian side who attempts to equate a point with an area is of ulterior motives.
The Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet (1890) explicitly stipulates that the boundary between Sikkim and Tibet commences at Mount Gipmochi in the East and follows the water-parting to the point where it meets Nepal’s territory in the West. This, I believe, is clear.
Q: The status quo and the situation at the China-India boundary have changed after the 1962 war, so it does not make any sense talking about an agreement that was made when India was under British rule. Has the Indian side ever recognized after 1962 that the Sikkim section was delimited?
A: The Indian government has stated unequivocally their recognition of the validity of the 1890 Convention many times. The boundary between Sikkim and Tibet was delimited by that convention. Once signed, the convention’s legality and validity shall not be affected by the change of regime or state system, and still less the certain point of time you mentioned.
Follow-up: My question is has there been any agreement between the two sides in this area after 1962?
A: As I said, there is no point mentioning 1962. Once signed, the boundary convention’s legality and validity shall not be affected by the change of regime and the passing of time.