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Ahead of NSA Doval's visit, is China relenting on Doklam dispute?

28 July 2017, 12:28 | Gina Pena

The South China Sea is expected to dominate a regional security meeting in Manila next week

The South China Sea is expected to dominate a regional security meeting in Manila next week

The Doklam standoff is likely to dominate Doval's agenda and he is expected to speak to China's State Councillor Yang Jiechi to find a solution to the month-long standoff.

Besides Doval and Yang, Minister of State Security David Mahlobo of South Africa, Minister Sergio Etchegoyen of the Office of Institutional Security of the Presidency of Brazil, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev of the Russian Federation will also attend the NSAs meeting.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Chinese National Security Advisor Yang Jiechi has bilateral relations in front of senior representatives of the three countries, keeping their side on worldwide and territorial serious issues (possibly including the Dokalam) and clarifying their position.

Indian officials in Beijing too have not elaborated on the issues discussed between Doval and Yang, who are special representatives of their countries for the boundary talks.

Doval arrived in Beijing on Wednesday to take part in the two-day Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) NSAs meeting being hosted by Yang.

The border row between the two countries was triggered in June when the Indian Army stopped a road construction by Chinese troops in Doklam. China claimed it was constructing the road within its territory. India has expressed its opposition to this construction and is afraid that it will help China to end India's reach to the northeast states.

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Doklam, located at the tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China, is of high strategic importance to all three.

Doval's formal goal of visiting Beijing is to attend a security dialogue of BRICS nations, he is expected to discuss the border standoff with Chinese leaders in separate meetings.

Doval will be meeting President Xi Jinping with his counterparts from BRICS countries on Friday.

The Global Times: Beijing is firm that India's withdrawal from the Chinese territory is a precondition and a basis for any meaningful dialogue between the two sides.

Ministry spokesman Wu also said that China's road project in the Doklam region was "appropriate and legal", adding that it was New Delhi that had violated Chinese sovereignty. The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi was noted in a quote, "The rights and wrongs are very clear, and even senior Indian officials have openly stated that Chinese troops did not step into Indian territory". When asked about the possibility of the current dispute escalating, Luo Zhaohui, China's ambassador to India, did not dismiss the likelihood of such a development.

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