China has repeated that it is ‘greatly concerned’ and ‘firmly opposed’ to India’s permission to let the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama go ahead with his planned visit to Arunachal Pradesh next month.
Last week, New Delhi reiterated that the Dalai Lama is free to travel anywhere in India including Arunachal Pradesh.
“China is greatly concerned with the news... we firmly oppose the Dalai Lama’s visit to the region,’’ foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a biweekly media briefing.
“We believe this further exposes the Dalai Lama’s nature of anti-China separatism,’’ he said. “China’s position on the so-called Arunachal Pradesh is consistent and clear.”
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed anti-China uprising and seeks greater autonomy for Tibetans in China, is labelled a ‘splittist’ in Beijing.
India and China have been involved in tense diplomatic exchanges following Beijing’s objection last week to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s October 3 visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which China controversially claims as its own.
The spokesperson didn’t comment when asked why Beijing issued the objection 10 days after Singh’s visit.
Foreign ministers of the two nations will meet on the sidelines of a trilateral meeting between China, Russia and India in Bangalore on October 27.
The ministry on Tuesday confirmed that Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi will have an ‘extensive’ meeting with his counterpart S.M. Krishna in Bangalore.
China’s strong protest was issued while Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was in Beijing and received President Hu Jintao’s offer of support to upgrade a key highway and hydroelectric project in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The ministry evaded discussing India’s objection to Chinese investment in the disputed region.