A week before President Hu Jintao arrives in India on November 20 for a four-day visit, China struck a discordant note on Monday by claiming that the whole of Arunachal Pradesh was "Chinese territory".
In an interview to CNN-IBN, Sun Yuxi, China’s ambassador to India, said: "In our position, the whole of the state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory. And Tawang is only one of the places in it. We are claiming all of that. That is our position."
Stressing the need to be realistic, Sun said in the interview that there was no time frame within which India and China had to resolve the long-standing border dispute.
When contacted, the Chinese embassy confirmed that “the interview took place”.
Sun had earlier told the Hindustan Times that prior to Hu’s visit, the special representatives of India and China -- M.K. Narayanan and Dai Bingguo -- would meet in New Delhi to finalise a “framework” within which talks on the boundary issue would be carried forward. But according to officials at the Ministry of External Affairs, no such talks were fixed, although India had indicated November 9 and 10 as possible dates.
Sources said the border dispute would “certainly” be raised at the discussions Hu holds with Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but it was unlikely that there would be any major forward movement.
Last year, during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit, China and India had formulated a set of wide-ranging 'guiding principles' within which to resolve the dispute. But officials said during Hu's visit, the parameters of the bilateral strategic relationship would be more clearly defined. India and China will also work out a mechanism for regular, high-level consultations.
In the interview, Sun declined to comment on India's nuclear capability.
"Unfortunately, we have five nuclear weapons' powers in the world," he said.
"That number should be reduced. We will be very happy if we can give up our nuclear weapons, and are working for an international agreement on elimination of nuclear weapons." China, a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, has been non-committal on the issue of an India-specific waiver by the group to permit member countries to begin civilian nuclear commerce with India. firstname.lastname@example.org