China on Monday warned India not to “push your luck” by underestimating Beijing's determination to safeguard what it considers sovereign Chinese territory, amid an ongoing standoff between the two neighbors over a contested region high in the Himalayas.
Defense ministry spokesman Col. Wu Qian reiterated China's demand that Indian troops pull back from the Doklam Plateau, an area also claimed by Indian ally Bhutan where Chinese teams had been building a road toward India's border.
“China's determination and resolve to safeguard national security and sovereignty is unshakable,” Wu said at a news conference to mark the upcoming 90th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army.
“Here is a wish to remind India, do not push your luck and cling to any fantasies,” Wu said. “The 90-year history of the PLA has proved but one thing: that our military means to secure our country's sovereignty and territorial integrity has strengthened and our determination has never wavered. It is easier to shake a mountain than to shake the PLA.”
India has called for both sides to withdraw forces and a negotiated settlement to the standoff that began last month after Chinese troops began working to extend southward the road from Yadong in Tibet.
While the sides have exercised restraint thus far, heated rhetoric in both Beijing and New Delhi has raised concern over a renewal of hostilities that resulted in a brief but bloody frontier war between the sides in 1962. The nuclear-armed neighbors share a 3,500-kilometer (2,174-mile) border, much of it contested, and China acts as a key ally and arms supplier for India's archrival, Pakistan.
The crisis is expected to be discussed when Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval visits Beijing at the end of this week for a security forum under the BRICS group of large developing nations that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.