China angry with India over Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit
Reacting to India’s approval for the Dalai Lama’s next year Arunachal Pradesh visit, China on Friday objected to the Tibetan spiritual leader’s scheduled visit, saying that it “will only damage peace and stability of the border areas” as well as its ties with India.
Chinese Foreign Minister spokesman Lu Kang said the invitation to the “Dalai Lama for activity in the disputed areas between China and India will only damage peace stability of the border areas as well as the bilateral relationship between China and India”.
The Chinese minister’s statement comes in response to the Dalai Lama’s scheduled visit to Arunachal Pradesh early next year at the invitation of the state’s Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh to be a part of southern Tibet and routinely protests visits by Indian leaders, foreign officials as well as the Dalai Lama to the area.
Last week, Beijing reacted strongly to American envoy Richard Verma’s October 22 tour to Tawang, saying the Ambassador visited a “disputed region”.
The Dalai Lama is likely to visit Tawang, the seat of a Buddhist monastery.
On Thursday, the Government of India had cleared the proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh. The invitation to the Lama was extended on October 9 and the visit is aimed to offer an opportunity for his followers to meet their spiritual leader, The Hindu reported citing a source in the office of Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
An official was quoted by a news agency as saying: “The Dalai Lama has been invited to Arunachal Pradesh for a fortnight-long visit during March 2017, when he is expected to visit Tawang, Itanagar and the eastern districts of the state.” The official, however, stated that the spiritual leader has given verbal confirmation that he would visit the Arunachal next year.
“Any responsible third party should respect efforts by China and India to seek peaceful and stable reconciliation and not the opposite,” Lu said, adding that “China’s position on eastern section is clear and consistent.”
Beijing claims more than 90,000 sq km of territory that shares with Arunachal belong to China, while India rejects it saying much of this disputed territory belongs to the Indian state.
In 2009, the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang festival had drawn criticism from Beijing.