Connect with us

news

China says its new land border law will not affect existing border treaties

Published

on

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: China said on Thursday that its new land border law will not affect the implementation of existing border treaties, and urged relevant countries to avoid making “undue speculation” about a “normal legislation”.

China’s national legislature — the National People’s Congress (NPC) — on October 23 adopted the new law on the protection and exploitation of the land border areas. This drew sharp reaction from India as it was passed amid the protracted military standoff between the two sides in eastern Ladakh region.

On Wednesday, India hit out at China for bringinmg out the new land border law, and said it expects China to avoid taking any action under the “pretext” of the legislation that could “unilaterally” alter the situation in the border areas.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi described China’s decision to bring out the law as a matter of “concern” as it can have implications on the existing bilateral pacts on the management of the border and the overall boundary question.

“China’s unilateral decision to bring about a legislation which can have implication on our existing bilateral arrangements on border management as well as on the boundary question is of concern to us,” he said.

“Such unilateral move will have no bearing on the arrangements that both sides have already reached earlier, whether it is on the boundary question or for maintaining peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in India-China border areas,” he said.

Responding to questions on the Land Border Law, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said: “It is a normal domestic legislation that serves our realistic needs and also confirms to international practice”.

“This law has clear stipulations on China’s cooperation with its neighbouring countries and the handling of the land border issues,” he said at a regular foreign ministry briefing in Beijing.

In an apparent response to India’s concerns, Wang said: “It will not affect China’s implementation of existing border treaties. Nor will it change existing practice in our cooperation with neighbouring countries. It does not mean that there is a change in our position on the border development issue.”

To a specific question about India’s criticism of the law, Wang said: “I just briefed you on the considerations behind the law. We hope relevant countries can avoid making undue speculation about the normal legislation in China.”

Earlier, elaborating on the provisions of the new law adopted by the NPC last week, Wang said President Xi Jinping signed decree No. 99 on the same day announcing that the law will come into effect from January 1, 2022.

“The Article 62 of the law identifies the leading mechanism and duties of departments of military and localities in implementing the law. It sets the rules for the demarcation procedures and also covers the areas of defence and management of borders as far as international cooperation,” he said.

“China has 22,000 kms of land borders. It has 14 land neighbours. The promulgation of the law is to coordinate and have unified standards for strengthening border management and advance relevant cooperation,” he said.

“This is an important measure in advancing the rule of law. It is a normal domestic legislation that serves our realistic needs and also confirms to international practice,” Wang said.

India and Bhutan are the two countries with which China is yet to finalise the border agreements, while Beijing resolved the boundary disputes with 12 other neighbours.

While India-China border disputes cover 3,488-km along the Line of Actual Control, the China-Bhutan dispute covers about 400 km.

India and China have already held over 20 rounds of border talks under the framework of the Special Representatives dialogue which was set up to find an early solution to the border dispute.

Both sides have been maintaining that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

The tension escalated following a deadly clash in Galwan Valley on June 15 last year. As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in February and in the Gogra area in August.

The last round of military talks on October 10 ended in a stalemate following which both sides blamed each other for the impasse.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

news

SL defenceless, warn experts

Published

on

New COVID variants

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Due to the lax testing at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), there is a strong possibility that any new variant of COVID-19 entering the country, College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President, Ravi Kumudesh told The Island yesterday commenting on the detection of a new coronavirus variant spreading in South Africa.

Even a travel ban would be useless unless the country enhances its testing and surveillance capacities, Kumudesh said.

Kumudesh said that PCR tests were not conducted on passengers on arrival and that it was likely that even those not fully vaccinated were entering the country. “Gene sequencing in respect of those infected with COVID inside the country was at a minimal level, and therefore, there is no way we can find out whether a new variant has entered the country until it is too late.

“There are two state-of-the-art labs in the BIA but no tests are done there. We are not ready, at all. Several nations are imposing travel bans on travellers from South Africa and the region. Perhaps, we should follow suit. However, the fact that we don’t test those coming in means that even a travel ban might be useless,” he said.

Kumudesh added that the number of PCR tests conducted had dropped to such a low level that reagents used in some labs for PCR testing are now nearing the expiry dates. The attitude of health officials at the airport is such that everyone operates on the basis that testing of passengers is not important.

Executive Director of the Institute for Health Policy (IHP), Dr. Ravi Rannan-Eliya yesterday said the detection of the new South African variant was potentially very bad news for all countries, and certainly for Sri Lanka.

“We still don’t have sufficient data on this, but I am very worried. It was only discovered a few days ago, but the scanty evidence strongly indicates that this new variant is driving a rapid increase in infections in S Africa. Only 100 cases have been confirmed officially, but reports indicate it may be 90% of new cases since Wed in Johannusburg,” he said.

Dr. Rannan-Eliya said that his best guess was that three out of four South Africans had been infected by COVID during the pandemic. Thus, a large number of them had acquired natural immunity. Moreover, 25% of others have been vaccinated.

“So this rapid spread despite a lot of immunity is very disturbing. This really points to this new variant—B1.1.529—being both more infectious and also significantly immune resistant. Something that also matches with its particular mutations,” he said.

Dr. Rannan-Eliya said he was not surprised at the emergence of the new variant because contrary to many experts who drink the kool-aid, there is no scientific basis to think SARS-CoV-2 had matured in its evolution. It might still have a lot of potential to evolve greater immune evasion and virulence, and that we should act on that basis.

“Second, because most of the world is following the misguided strategy of just accepting the virus (hey you – USA, UK, Sri Lanka…), the virus has plenty of chances to keep on mutating more because the truth is more of the virus is circulating than ever before. Third, despite a lot of nonsense about how T-cell immunity is going to protect us, there’s really no evidence that either infection or current vaccines and boosters will ever give us long-lasting immunity. We simply don’t know.”

Countries like South Africa, Peru, etc., who had such high levels of infection that much of their population was infected more than once, still continue to suffer new waves of infection.

“So this is bad news for all of us humans on planet earth, but very definitely for us in Sri Lanka. Why? Because based on how our medical establishment and govt authorities think, we will be slow or refuse to put the necessary border controls in to prevent this entering. And when it does enter-which is inevitable if this variant spreads globally–we will be slow to detect its entry, we will refuse to sound the alarm, and we will do everything but actually attempt to stop it. That’s been our track record, so why would it change? Worth noting that if this starts a new wave in Southern Africa, it’s just three to four months after their third wave. So just as immunity starts waning appreciably from natural infection (or vaccines). That gives us a strong hint of what our future holds unless we end this pandemic.”

Continue Reading

news

Navy deploys lagoon craft at Kurinchankerny until construction of new bridge

Published

on

Residents waiting for the boat

Sri Lanka Navy began providing transport facilities at the Kurinchankerny lagoon following the recent tragedy that claimed several lives. This service will continue until the construction of a new bridge at Kurinchankerny, Kinniya in Trincomalee is completed.

This initiative was set in motion following the directives of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne. The Navy deployed a Lagoon Craft, capable of carrying 25 passengers safely at a time from Thursday (25) under the supervision of the Eastern Naval Command. The lagoon craft will be in service from 7.00 a.m. to 8.00 a.m. and from 12.00 noon to 2.00 p.m. each day. Further, the Navy erected a temporary jetty to allow passengers to board the vessel safely.

A schoolgirl on her way to the ferry
Continue Reading

news

UN Assistant Secretary General during talks with President pledges to work closely with Sri Lanka

Published

on

The United Nations will always work closely with Sri Lanka, said Khaled Khiari, UN Assistant Secretary General for Political, Peacebuilding and Peace Operations. Khiari made these remarks when he met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat, on Thursday (25).

UN Assistant Secretary General Khiari is visiting Sri Lanka as a follow-up to the bilateral meeting with the President and the UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres held in September this year on the sidelines of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly. Khiari conveyed the best wishes of UN Secretary-General Guterres to President Rajapaksa and said that the UN is willing to engage in a constructive and positive engagement with Sri Lanka.

Expressing satisfaction over the President’s affection and interest in the environment, the Assistant Secretary General appreciated Sri Lanka’s commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The President explained that steps are being taken to plant 100,000 mangroves with the assistance of the Navy and actions are being taken to prevent climate change through environmental conservation programmes.

President Rajapaksa expressed gratitude to the UN agencies and donors that have assisted Sri Lanka through the COVAX facility to make the vaccination drive successful and in facing other challenges in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic.

The President pointed out that the government’s development programme implemented in the North and East after the end of the war in 2009 had brought about rapid development. The President recalled his invitation made while participating in the UN General Assembly to the diaspora to work together with all communities after visiting Sri Lanka. The President said that he hoped that the invitation would be met with positive initiatives.

The two sides exchanged views on unity and relations between communities. An environment where all communities can live freely has been made available in Sri Lanka. The President pointed out that the Minister of Justice is from the Muslim community, the Attorney General is from the Tamil community and many of those holding other key posts are of different communities. President Rajapaksa said the government has undertaken a great task in building unity among the communities and therefore, no one should have any doubt in this regard.

Both sides were of the view that education was fundamental to unity among the communities. President Rajapaksa said that the process by which South Africa has been able to end apartheid and move forward will be studied and the lessons that can be learned from it and what can be implemented will be looked into. The President also expressed hope that the United Nations will provide assistance in this regard.

Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera and Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, and Political Officer at the UN Peace Operations Department’s Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Department Chiaki Ota were also present.

Continue Reading

Trending