China objects to US diplomat’s Arunachal Pradesh remark

Arunachal border

China has taken strong offence to a US diplomat’s remark that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and has sought a clarification from Washington.

Beijing has contended that any third-party intervention in the border dispute between India and China will complicate the issue. “The Chinese side has noted the report and will ask the US side for verification and clarification”, China’s Foreign Ministry said in Beijing.

US Consul General in Kolkata, Craig L. Hall had recently remarked that Washington regards Arunachal Pradesh,  which China claims as southern Tibet, as an integral part of India. The statement from China comes ahead of India’s President Pranab Mukherjee’s expected visit to China in 2016.

The US diplomat’s remark in support of India’s claims has clearly riled China, which is resentful of the growing strategic partnership between New Delhi and Washington. China suspects that the US is trying to rope in India to contain its rise.

India and China held the 19th round of border talks last month in Beijing. The talks were held by Special Representatives, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi. The Line of Actual Control (LAC), which serves as the de facto boundary between the two Asian giants, covers the 3,488 km-long border while China says that the boundary dispute is confined to 2,000 kms, mainly in Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern sector. China also claims the region as a part of southern Tibet while India asserts that the dispute covered the whole of the LAC. The LAC also includes Aksai Chin, which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.

Responding to Mr Hall’s remarks, China’s Foreign Ministry said, “All the third parties must respect the history and reality concerning the boundary question, respect efforts by China and India to solve territorial disputes through negotiations, not get involved in the disputes or take sides on issues relating to the ownership of disputed territory”.

Taking a long range view of India-China relations, the China’s foreign office spokesperson said that sound negotiations between China and India on the boundary question as well as peace and tranquility in the border areas over recent years have created favourable conditions for the growth of bilateral relations and their respective development”.

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