India, China trying to end army standoff in Himalayas

People play polo in Leh, the largest town in the region of Ladakh, nestled high in the Indian Himalayas, India, September 24, 2016. (Reuters)
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Updated 05 June 2020

India, China trying to end army standoff in Himalayas

  • Indian officials said Chinese soldiers entered the Indian-controlled territory of Ladakh in early May at three different points, erecting tents and guard posts
  • China has objected to India building a road through a valley connecting the region to an airstrip, possibly sparking its move to assert control over territory

NEW DELHI: Indian and Chinese foreign ministry officials on Friday discussed the flaring of tensions on their disputed Himalayan border, where thousands of soldiers from the two countries have been facing off just a few hundred meters (yards) from each other for a month, an Indian official said.
The video conference came a day before generals in the Ladakh region are scheduled to meet at a border post to intensify efforts for a pullback to their pre-May positions in the region. The army officers have held a series of meetings in the past four weeks to break the impasse.
An External Affairs Ministry statement in New Delhi said both sides agreed that they should handle their differences through peaceful discussion "bearing in mind the importance of respecting each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations and not allow them to become disputes.”
Indian officials say Chinese soldiers entered the Indian-controlled territory of Ladakh in early May at three different points, erecting tents and guard posts.
They said the Chinese soldiers ignored repeated verbal warnings to leave, triggering shouting matches, stone-throwing and fistfights.
China has sought to downplay the confrontation while providing little information. Indian media reports say that the two armies have moved artillery guns in the region.
China has objected to India building a road through a valley connecting the region to an airstrip, possibly sparking its move to assert control over territory along the border that is not clearly defined in places.
India and China fought a border war in 1962 and have been trying since the early 1990’s to settle their dispute without success.
In all, China claims some 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) of territory in India’s northeast, including the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh with its traditionally Buddhist population. India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau in the western Himalayas, including part of the Ladakh region.


Heavily armed man arrested at Washington security checkpoint

Updated 48 min 2 sec ago

Heavily armed man arrested at Washington security checkpoint

WASHINGTON: A heavily armed man has been arrested in Washington at a security checkpoint near the US Capitol, where President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated next week, authorities said.
Wesley Allen Beeler, of Virginia, was taken into custody after police found him with a handgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition, shotgun shells and a magazine for the gun, according to a police report obtained by AFP.
He had tried to pass through the checkpoint using fake inaugural credentials, CNN reported, citing a law enforcement source.
Washington is under a high state of alert ahead of Biden’s Wednesday inauguration, after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6.
Five people died in the assault, including a police officer.
Security officials have warned that armed pro-Trump extremists, possibly carrying explosives, pose a threat to Washington as well as state capitals over the coming week.
Thousands of National Guard troops have been deployed in Washington and streets have been blocked off downtown with concrete barriers.
The National Mall, which is normally packed with people every four years for presidential inaugurations, has been declared off-limits at the request of the Secret Service, which ensures the security of the president.