China says its troops 'never crossed' Line of Actual Control

China says its troops 'never crossed' Line of Actual Control

"China's border personnel have been respecting the two agreements made between the two countries to maintain peace and tranquility in border areas and have never crossed the LAC," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing here.

He was responding to a question on reports about Chinese troops entering the Indian side of the LAC last year and objecting to the construction of a shed in Demchok area of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir state.

"We have taken note that the Indian side has issued a clarification on the relevant issue," Hong said in a brief reply. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said in New Delhi yesterday, "Government has seen media reports alleging Chinese troop intrusion in the Demchok area of Leh District in Jammu and Kashmir. These reports are baseless and do not conform to fact."

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said that "We have time and again said that there are differences in perception of the Line of Actual Control in this segment... As far as this particular incident, we are not aware of specific transgression..."

India and China, besides signing two agreements in 1993 and 1996 respectively to discuss the border problem, have appointed designated representatives on the matter. In 2005, the two countries signed an agreement outlining political guidelines on demarcation during Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's visit to New Delhi.

The two sides have so far held 14 rounds of talks to resolve the issue without much success. While India maintains that the dispute is related to over 3500 km of border, including Jammu and Kashmir, China claims that it is confined to about 2000 km only, mainly to Arunachal Pradesh which it claims as Southern Tibet.