China holds live fire drills, as border dispute with India enters fifth week

 A Chinese soldier stands near an Indian soldier at the ancient Nathu La border crossing.

Story highlights

  • Border dispute showing no sign of de-escalating
  • Chinese military conducted live fire drill in nearby Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

(CNN)The Chinese government has issued a warning to neighboring India to withdraw its troops from the disputed Doklam border area to "avoid further escalation of the situation."

The comments, made by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang during a regular press briefing Tuesday, come amid what has evolved into an increasingly bitter and entrenched border dispute between the two nations.
    The standoff, now entering into its fifth week, centers on a thin strip of land in the junction with Bhutan. Though not a part of Indian territory, the area is close to the "chicken's neck," a strategic corridor that serves as a vital artery between Delhi and its far northeastern states.
      Indian troops parade during the country's National Day.

      Bellicose media

      The dispute appears to have escalated in recent days, say analysts, with both Beijing and Delhi looking to consolidate their positions. On Monday, China conducted live-fire drills in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau close to the site of the current standoff. The aim of the drills, according to reports in Chinese state media, was to improve troops' "combat capability in such locations."