US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in London for talks. Credit: WPA Pool.

Despite its call for a peaceful resolution, there is no question who the United States supports in the border scuffle between China and India.

Attacking China for its recent aggressive moves against many of its neighbours, including “instigating” a deadly confrontation with India in eastern Ladakh, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo let loose, stating unequivocally that Beijing cannot threaten countries and bully them in the Himalayas, The Tribune reported.

Speaking at a news conference in London, Pompeo said China was one of the important parts of his discussions with British counterpart Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

“You can’t go make claims for maritime regions that you have no lawful claim to. You can’t threaten countries and bully them in the Himalayas. You can’t engage in cover-ups and co-opt international institutions like the World Health Organization,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo’s comment on Chinese bullying of its Himalayan neighbours came in response to a question if the US would like the UK to do more to confront China, The Tribune reported.

“I don’t think about it that way; we don’t think about it that way. We think that the entire world needs to work together to ensure that every country, including China, behaves in the international system in ways that are appropriate and consistent with the international order,” he said.

“We talked about how we’ve seen Hong Kong’s freedoms crushed. We’ve watched the CCP bully its neighbours, militarise features in the South China Sea, and instigate a deadly confrontation with India,” Pompeo said.

The troops of India and China are locked in a standoff in several areas along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh since May 5, The Tribune reported. The situation deteriorated last month following the Galwan Valley clashes that left 20 Indian Army personnel dead. 

China recently staked claim over the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan at the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council and opposed funding to the project.

Under the adversarial reign of President Xi Jinping, China claims almost all of the South China Sea as its sovereign territory.

It has also been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, The Tribune reported.

Meanwhile, India asked China Thursday to “sincerely” work with it for a “complete disengagement and de-escalation” process in Ladakh to enable the “full restoration” of peace in border areas as decided during bilateral talks between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, The Print reported.

“Respecting and strictly abiding” by the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the basis of peace and tranquillity in the border areas, something that was also agreed upon during Doval-Wang talks on 5 July, the Ministry of External Affairs said at its briefing.