US Senator Accuses China of Seizing Territory Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

US

The Trump administration has escalated its attacks against China in recent months. Previous focus on a rivalry between trade competitors has now become explicit accusations of expansionism against the Chinese government.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton launched a fierce attack against China on Sunday, accusing the ruling Communist Party of using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to act “aggressively” towards “almost all of its neighbours”.

In an interview with Fox News, the Arkansas lawmaker made reference to recent activity in the South China Sea and along the border with India, claiming that China has been taking advantage of the world’s focus on the coronavirus to seize territory.

Cotton alleged that China had “invaded India”, which is an ally of the United States.

​Cotton’s claim contrasts with a statement from India’s President Narendra Modi, who said there had been “no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC” and has sought to de-escalate tensions along the border with China following a violent altercation between the two nuclear-armed neighbours in the disputed territory.

The clash, which was reportedly fought hand-to-hand using a makeshift weaponry, led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers as well as an unknown number of Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops.

The disputed territory in question is Aksai Chin, which is administered by China as part of its Xinjiang Autonomous Region but claimed by India as part of Jammu &…

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