China objects to Pres Kovind’s Arunachal trip, says bilateral ties at ‘crucial’ juncture
China on Monday strongly criticised President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, saying Sino-India relations were at a “crucial moment” and that New Delhi should not complicate the dispute.
“China firmly opposes the Indian leader’s relevant activities in the relevant region,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a regular briefing.
“The Chinese government (has) never acknowledged the so-called Arunachal Pradesh,” Lu said, responding to a question from the Chinese state media on Kovind’s visit to the northeastern state.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of south Tibet and routinely criticises India if its leaders visit the state.
Barely two weeks ago, Beijing had criticised defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to the state.
The official Xinhua news agency went on to describe Arunachal Pradesh as being “illegally” established in areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Kovind had said on Sunday that if the northeast is the crown of the country, Arunachal Pradesh is the “jewel in the crown”. The President was on a four-day tour of the northeast.
On Monday, Lu continued the tirade.
“China and India and are in the process of settling this issue (border dispute) through negotiation and consultation, and seek to reach a fair and reasonable solution acceptable to all. Pending final settlement all parties should work for peace and tranquillity,” Lu said.
“China firmly opposes the Indian leader’s relevant activities in the relevant region,” he said, adding: “China and India’s relations are at a crucial moment and we hope India could work in the same direction and maintain general picture of bilateral ties and refrain from complicating border issue.”
Lu also said India should “work to create favourable conditions for border negotiations and for the sound and stable development of bilateral ties”.
The Xinhua report said, “The so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’ was established largely on three areas of China’s Tibet - Monyul, Loyul and Lower Tsayul - which are currently under India’s illegal occupation.”
It added, “In 1914, British colonialists secretly instigated the illegal ‘McMahon Line’ in an attempt to incorporate into India the above-mentioned three areas of Chinese territory. None of the successive Chinese governments have ever recognised this line.”
Meanwhile, an official statement from China on last week’s border dialogue between officials of the two countries said it was in the “fundamental interest of both countries to maintain the healthy and stable development” of bilateral relations and this is the “common expectation of both the region and the international community”.
Diplomats from the two countries met in Beijing on Friday for the 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), initiated in 2012 with a focus on maintaining peace along the frontier.
It added that in the next phase, the two sides will continue to implement the important consensus reached by leaders of the two sides.