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The situation between India and China in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh is fragile and dangerous, with military forces deployed very close to each other in some parts, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday.

At least 24 soldiers were killed when the two sides clashed in the region in mid-2020, but the situation has been calmed through rounds of diplomatic and military talks. In December, violence erupted in the eastern sector of the undemarcated border between the nuclear-armed Asia giants but did not result in any deaths.

“The situation, to my mind, still remains very fragile because there are places where our deployments are very close up and in military assessment therefore quite dangerous,” Jaishankar said at an India Today conclave.

India-China relations cannot go back to normal, he said, until the border row is resolved in line with the September 2020 in-principle agreement he reached with his Chinese counterpart. “The Chinese have to deliver on what was agreed to, and they have struggled with that.”

Although forces from both sides have disengaged from many areas, discussions are proceeding over unresolved points, Jaishankar said.

“We have made it very clear to the Chinese that we cannot have a breach of peace and tranquillity; you can’t violate the agreement and want the rest of the relationship to continue as though nothing happened. That’s just not tenable.” Jaishankar said he discussed the situation with China’s new foreign minister, Qin Gang, on the sidelines of a meeting of the foreign ministers of the G20 nations hosted by India this month.

Regarding India’s presidency of G20 this year, Jaishankar expressed hope that New Delhi can make the forum “more true to its global mandate”.

“The G20 should not be a debating club or an arena only of the global north. The entirety of global concerns needs to be captured. We have already made that point very forcefully,” Jaishankar said. Russia’s 13-month invasion of Ukraine has overshadowed two G20 ministerial meetings in India in the last three weeks.dpa


German Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger plans to travel to Taiwan on Monday, the first official visit by a German minister in more than 25 years.

Stark-Watzinger’s two-day trip to Taiwan amid heightened tensions between China and the self-governing island. Plans for the visit announced on Friday drew an angry response from the Chinese embassy in Berlin.

Stark-Watzinger, a member of the free-market liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), plans to meet with the Taiwanese government, education, science and business representatives in Taipei. “The trip aims to strengthen and expand cooperation with Taiwan in science, research and education,” the German ministry said.

“Taiwan is a high-tech location and a world leader in developing and producing semiconductors in particular.” The ministry described Taiwan as an important, reliable and trustworthy partner in a number of areas, including education, research and digital policy. “Germany and Taiwan share the same values and are committed to them: peace, freedom, human rights,” the ministry said. The Chinese embassy denounced the visit and formally expressed its “great displeasure” in diplomatic terms on Friday. “At this point we call on the German side again to adhere to the One China principle without compromise,” the Chinese embassy in Berlin told the German news agency RND.

Taiwan is a self-governing democracy, but China views it as part of its territory. China opposes any official diplomatic contact or recognition between Taiwan and other countries. China refuses to maintain official relations with any country formally recognising Taiwan diplomatically. There are only a few countries in the world that do so. Germany is not one of them. The visit to Taiwan last year by then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi provoked a diplomatic row between the United Statesand China.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, international concerns grew that China could take similar action against Taiwan. Beijing has not condemned the Russian invasion, and China’s president, Xi Jinping, is expected to visit Moscow next week.

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