China expresses anger over Modi visit to remote Indian state claimed by Beijing

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ramallah, on Feb 10, 2018. He visited Arunachal Pradesh as part of a tour of India's northeastern states. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China on Thursday expressed anger over a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the remote Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China also claims, and said India should stop any action that might complicate the dispute.

China claims the region in the eastern Himalayas as "South Tibet", and it has denounced Indian leaders' visits there as attempts to bolster India's claims.

"China's position on the China-India boundary question is consistent and clear-cut," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency.

"The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to the Indian leader's visit to the disputed area," Mr Geng said.

"We will lodge stern representations with the Indian side,"he said.

Mr Modi is visiting as part of a tour of India's northeastern states.

"I am delighted to visit Arunachal Pradesh and be among the wonderful people of this state," Mr Modi said in a Twitter post.

China and India have improved ties in recent years, but there is still deep distrust over their long festering border dispute, which triggered a brief war in 1962.

Chinese and Indian troops faced off on another disputed part of the border last year.

Chinese spokesman Geng said China and India had reached an important consensus on properly managing disputes, and the two sides were working to resolve their contested border through negotiation and consultation.

"The Chinese side urges the Indian side to honour its commitment and abide by the relevant consensus, and refrain from taking any action that may complicate the boundary question," Mr Geng said.

Mr Modi is expected to visit China in June for a summit of the Chinese and Russian-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation security bloc.

He inaugurated a convention centre in the Arunachal Pradesh state capital of Itanagar and said the state authorities had prepared an excellent roadmap for development until 2027.

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