China taking advantage of Covid-19, tiff with India an example: US diplomat

India is among the countries that China has taken advantage of since the outbreak of the COVID-19 from Wuhan, US diplomat David Stilwell said on Wednesday.

"What we have seen since the corona outbreak from Wuhan is it seems the PRC (People's Republic of China) is trying to take advantage of the situation, and India, I think, is one of those examples of that. So to our friends in Beijing, I would ask them to follow their commitment to resolve these things through peaceful means and dialogue," Stilwell said at a press briefing here.

The Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs also reiterated Secretary Pompeo's remarks that the United States hopes for a peaceful resolution to the border standoff between India and China.

The US diplomat's remark comes after the Indian Army thwarted Chinese Army's attempt on the night of August 29 and 30 to transgress into areas near the southern bank of Pangong Tso.

Indian Army said that on the night of August 29/30, PLA troops violated the consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo.

On a question over the border stand-off between India and China, Stilwell added: "For the conflict in the Himalayas, like all things, especially related to the PRC's differences of opinion with its neighbours, is we advise them to return to dialogue, resolve these things peacefully without coercion, use of force."

Further talking about China's engagement in other areas, he said: "...many conflicts that are going on in China's periphery right now. You mentioned Tibet. Xinjiang - very concerned still about what they're doing there. Hong Kong activities, South China Sea - I could go on and on."

Earlier in the press briefing, Pompeo had slammed the Chinese Communist Party for engaging in a clear and intensifying pattern of bullying its neighbours.

"From the Taiwan Strait to the Himalayas and beyond, the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in a clear and intensifying pattern of bullying its neighbours. It is also evident in the South China Sea," he said.

"We are hoping for a peaceful resolution of the situation on the India-China border," he added.

India and China have been engaged in a standoff since April-May over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including Finger area, Galwan Valley, Hot springs and Kongrung Nala.

Negotiations between the two sides have been going on for the last three months, including five Lieutenant General-level talks but have failed to yield any results, so far.

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