Dalai visit to Arunachal will hit ties, warns China

01 April 2017

China on Friday once again warned India of "serious damage" to bilateral ties if it allows Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh next week and asked New Delhi to make a "choice".

In its second warning to India in a month, the Chinese foreign ministry said it was seriously concerned about India's decision to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as part of south Tibet.

"We are seriously concerned about the news. On the eastern section of the China-India border, China's position is clear and consistent," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told media in Beijing, responding to a question on the Dalai Lama's upcoming visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

"The Dalai clique has long been engaging in separatist activities with an inglorious record. India should be very clear with the true nature of the Dalai clique," Lu said.

"But despite this, India still invited the Dalai Lama to visit the region. This will have serious damage on bilateral relations," Lu said.

The Dalai Lama will visit Arunachal Pradesh from 4 to 13 April.

This is the second time this month Chinese foreign ministry has aired its objections to the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

"China is gravely concerned over information that India has granted permission to the Dalai to visit Arunachal Pradesh," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang had said on 3 March.

China has protested to India last year also after New Delhi cleared the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

"Such visits will have deep damage on China India relations. We have asked India to stick to its political pledges and not to hurt China-India relations. It will come down to India to make a choice," Lu said.

"China firmly opposes the Dalai Lama carrying out any activities in the relevant region and we have expressed our concerns to the Indian side. We urge India to stick to its political statements, respect the consensus and avoid doing anything that might further complicate the matter," Lu said.

He said India should not provide any platform for the "Dalai clique and only that way can China-India relation can move forward in a sound and steady way".

"China and India are two major developing countries and we are close neighbours. It is very important for the two peoples to maintain sound and steady China India relations. But such relationship has to be built on certain foundation," Lu said.

Last year, China also protested the visit of then American Ambassador to India Richard Verma to the area.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km long Line of Actual Control (LAC).

While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covers Aksai Chin area which has been occupied by China since the 1962 war.

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