China calls in Indian envoy over Modi's Arunachal visit



Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin Saturday called in India's Ambassador to China, Ashok K. Kantha, to lodge a “stern representation” over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Liu expressed "strong dissatisfaction and staunch opposition" to the Indian side's insistence on arranging the visit by its leader to what he called “the disputed area” on the China-India border.

Modi visited Arunachal Pradesh on Friday to attend its 23rd State Foundation Day.

The Chinese embassy in India lodged a representation with the Indian authorities over the visit on Friday night.

"The Chinese government has never recognized the so-called Arunachal Pradesh," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a press release Friday.

During the meeting with Ambassador Kantha, Vice Foreign Minister Liu pointed out that this act by the Indian side “undermined China's territorial sovereignty, right and interests”, the Xinhua report said.

He said such an act by the Indian side artificially amplified differences between the two countries on the border issue and thus went against the principles and consensus that the two sides reached on properly addressing the issue.

Liu reiterated China's “consistent and clear-cut stance on the China-India border issue”, saying the Chinese government “has never recognized the so-called Arunachal Pradesh unilaterally set up by the Indian side".

It was “an universally recognized, unevadable fact that significant disputes do exist on the eastern section of the China-India border”, Liu said.

He emphasised that China placed importance on developing relations with India. He said the two countries, as neighbours and the top two developing countries in the world, shared broad prospects on cooperation at various levels.

Liu expressed the hope that the Indian side would treasure the sound momentum in the growth of bilateral relations, march toward the same goal with China and abide by the important consensus on the border issue.

Liu called on the Indian side not to take any action that might complicate the border issue and stick to the general orientation of resolving the issue through bilateral negotiations to maintain the overall growth of bilateral relations.

Modi, who arrived in Arunachal Pradesh's capital Friday, flagged off the Naharlagun-New Delhi Express by pressing a button at a function held in Indira Gandhi Park in Itanagar.

The prime minister hoped the boost in communications through the railway would propel growth and development in Arunachal Pradesh and other parts of the northeast.

Modi, who was accompanied by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, also inaugurated an inter-city train between Naharlagun and Guwahati and laid the foundation stone of a 132 KV power transmission project and another project to provide pure drinking water to the residents of the capital town.

President Pranab Mukherjee's visit to the state last year had also drawn sharp reactions from China, which has often laid claim to the state. - IANS