NEW DELHI — China has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers on India’s Northern border, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said, in further signs that a deadly military standoff between the world’s two most populous countries is far from cooling down.
“The Indians are seeing 60,000 Chinese soldiers on their northern border,” Pompeo said on Fox News late Friday. Each of the three major Indo-Pacific democracies — India, Australia and Japan — which form the so-called Quad along with the U.S., is under threat from the Chinese Communist Party, Pompeo said, according to a transcript released by the U.S. State Department.
Pompeo also criticized China’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and its telecommunication infrastructure, and said the country steals intellectual property. President Donald Trump has vowed “to take seriously the threat from General Secretary Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party, and we’re no longer going to allow them to run around cost-free and impose their vision for the future upon the West,” Pompeo said.
The comment came after a second ministerial-level meeting of the Quad in Tokyo last week, in which Pompeo called on the other participants to band together against coercion from China. The Trump administration has been critical of Beijing on many topics from trade policy to the coronavirus, while India is growing increasingly wary of Chinese economic and military influence in South Asia.