China defends decision to “standardise” names of six Arunachal towns

Foreign Ministry spokesman counters India’s charge that China is inventing names to make its territorial claims over the area legal.

Updated - November 29, 2021 01:14 pm IST

Published - April 21, 2017 03:07 pm IST - Beijing

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang during a press conference in Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang during a press conference in Beijing.

China on Friday defended its decision to “standardise” the names of six towns in Arunachal Pradesh, reinforcing its claims over territory which it calls South Tibet.

In response to a question on India’s rejection of the Chinese move, in the aftermath of the Dalai Lama’s visit to the State, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, “China position on the eastern section of the India-China boundary is clear and consistent. Relevant names have been used by ethnic Momba and Tibetan Chinese who have lived here for generations. So it is a fact that cannot be changed. ”

He added: “To standardise these names and publicise them is a legitimate measure based on our lawful right”.

On Thursday, the spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Gopal Baglay slammed the Chinese move to name the six towns in Arunachal Pradesh, as part of its official record.

“Assigning invented names to the towns of your neighbour does not make illegal territorial claims legal,” Mr. Baglay had observed. “Arunachal Pradesh is and will always be an integral part of India,” he added.

The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs had said that Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoidêngarbo Ri, Mainquka, Bümo La and Namkapub Ri are the “standardised” names of its towns in Arunachal Pradesh.

On Friday, an op-ed in the Global Times affiliated with the People’s Daily flagship urged India “to do some serious thinking over why China announced the standardised names in South Tibet at this time”.

It warned: “Playing the Dalai Lama card is never a wise choice for New Delhi. If India wants to continue this petty game, it will only end up in paying dearly for it”.

The daily pointed out that putting “the Dalai Lama into its toolbox against China is another trick played by New Delhi lately”.

“New Delhi would be too ingenuous to believe that the region belongs to India simply because the Dalai Lama says so.”

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