BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Tuesday that the weather was a factor in the building of roads and other infrastructure along the Himalayan border with India, after the two countries ended a more than two-month face-off at the disputed frontier.
Indian and Chinese troops had been confronting each other at the Doklam plateau near the borders of India, its ally Bhutan and China in the most serious and prolonged standoff in decades.
The trouble started in June when India sent troops to stop China building a road in the Doklam area, which is remote, uninhabited territory claimed by both China and Bhutan.
India said it sent its troops because Chinese military activity there was a threat to the security of its own northeast region.
Asked whether China had now stopped building the road in Doklam, known in China as Donglang, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China had for a long time been building roads and other infrastructure there for border protection and to help local people’s livelihoods.
“We will make an overall assessment of the weather conditions and all related factors, and according to the actual circumstances complete construction plans,” Hua told a daily news briefing, without elaborating.
She reiterated that Chinese border troops were continuing their patrols in the area.
Neither country has offered explicit details of the terms of disengagement from the area which had raised fears of a wider conflict between the Asian giants who fought a brief border war in 1962.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie