China on Friday once again warned India that the proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh would cause “deep damage” to Sino-Indian ties, and stressed that New Delhi would have to make “a choice” in its dealings with the Tibetan spiritual leader.
“China and India are two major developing countries and we are close neighbours. It is very important for the two people to maintain sound and steady China-India relations. But such relationship has to be built on (a) certain foundation,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in his daily briefing.
Mr. Lu highlighted that “such visits” will cause “deep damage” to 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,” he said.
The spokesperson’s remarks are part of a sustained effort by the Chinese officialdom and academia to discourage India from green-lighting the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh in early April. China has been particularly emphatic about its claims over Tawang, which houses the famous Tawang Monastery — India’s largest monastery. It is also the second largest monastery in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa.
Last week, Lian Xiangmin, director of contemporary research of the Beijing-based China Tibetology Research Centre, told the media that the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh is a “sensitive issue,” and referred to its linkage with the boundary issue.
Claims on Tawang
“This (the visit) will undoubtedly negatively affect friendly relations. We do hope history and facts are respected by both the parties.” Mr. Lian had stressed. He added, “Tawang is a part of Tibet and Tibet is a part of China. So Tawang is a part of China. There is not much problem here.”
During his Friday briefing Mr. Lu said that China was “seriously concerned about the news” about the Dalai Lama’s visit. “On the eastern section of the China-India border, China’s position is clear and constant. The Dalai clique has long been engaging in separatist activities with (an) inglorious record.”