US envoy’s visit to Arunachal irks China

BEIJING: China admonished the United States on Monday for sending its ambassador in India to a contested stretch of land on the India-China border, warning that a third party’s meddling would only complicate the dispute between Beijing and New Delhi.

China claims more than 90,000 square kilometers of territory disputed by India in the eastern sector of the Himalayas.

Much of that forms the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China calls South Tibet.

US Ambassador to India Richard Verma posted photos on his Twitter account on Oct 21 of his recent trip to Arunachal Pradesh, thanking Indian officials for their “warm hospitality” and calling the region a “magical place”.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China was “firmly opposed” to the US diplomat’s actions, which he said would “damage the hard-earned peace and tranquillity of the China-India border region”.

“Any responsible third party should respect efforts by China and India to seek peaceful and stable reconciliation, and not the opposite,” Mr Lu told a regular press briefing.

“We urge the United States to stop getting involved in the China-India territorial dispute and do more to benefit this region’s peace and tranquillity,” he said, adding that China and India were handling the matter appropriately through talks.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs described Mr Verma’s visit as “nothing unusual”.

“The US ambassador visited Arunachal Pradesh, a state which is an integral part of the country to which he is accredited,” the ministry’s spokesman Vikas Swarup said in response to the Chinese statement.

No comment was available from the US Embassy in New Delhi.

Disagreement between China and India over parts of their 3,500km border led to a brief war in 1962.