China protests over Indian president’s trip to contested border area
Kovind draws fire from Beijing over inauguration of state assembly building in Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as southern Tibet
China has criticised a visit by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind to the remote state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims, saying China opposed any activities by Indian leaders in disputed areas.
The latest row over Arunachal Pradesh suggests the Asian giants remain far apart, despite recent attempts to defuse tension over a region that China claims as southern Tibet.
The Indian president went over the weekend, inaugurating a new state assembly building.
In a speech to the assembly, Kovind said that for India, the state was where the sun first rose – being its easternmost region – each day, and from here light was spread across the country.
He also remarked on several steps taken by the federal government to advance the state’s transport links.
In Beijing on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China had never recognised Arunachal Pradesh, but that China’s position on the border issue was clear, which was to seek a solution both could accept via talks.
“Before the border issue is resolved, both sides should jointly work hard to protect the peace and tranquillity of the border region. China resolutely opposes Indian leaders’ activities in disputed regions,” Lu said.
He said Sino-India ties were at an important stage and China hoped India did not do anything to complicate the border issue but should instead “create conditions” for border talks and the healthy, stable development of relations.
China and India have tried to improve their ties in recent years but there is still deep distrust over the border dispute.
In April, China slammed India’s decision to host Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in the same region, saying it could cause serious damage to relations.