Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang’s Regular Press Conference on April 5, 2017
Q: According to Indian media reports, the Dalai Lama is visiting the disputed eastern section of the China-India boundary at the invitation of the government of the so-called “Arunachal Pradesh”. What is China’s comment on that?
A: In disregard of China’s concerns, the Indian side insists on inviting the Dalai Lama for activities in the disputed eastern section of the China-India boundary. It severely hurts China’s interests and the China-India relationship. Firmly opposed to that, the Chinese side will lodge stern representations with the Indian side.
The Chinese side holds a consistent and clear position on the eastern section of the China-India boundary. The Indian side knows well the role of the 14th Dalai Lama. Arranging his activities in this sensitive area where China and India have territorial disputes not only violates India’s commitment on Tibet-related issues, but also fuels the border dispute. It runs counter to the sound momentum of the development of bilateral relations and will do no good to the Indian side.
The Chinese side will take necessary means to defend its territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests. We call on the Indian side to immediately stop its erroneous move of using the Dalai Lama to undermine China’s interests, refrain from hyping up sensitive issues between the two sides and undercutting the foundation for boundary negotiation and bilateral relations, and take concrete actions to safeguard the overall interests of the bilateral relations.
Q: With regard to what you said about Dalai Lama’s visit, the Indian side said that no color should be added to this particular issue. An Indian minister stated that the “Arunachal Pradesh” is an integral part of India. The issue between India and China, as far as the border dispute is concerned, is about the line of actual control. China should not interfere in India’s domestic affairs. What is your reaction?
A: It is without any doubt that China upholds the principle of not interfering in others’ domestic affairs. And China’s stance on the eastern section of the China-India boundary is also clear-cut. India’s insistence on arranging the Dalai Lama’s visit to the disputed eastern section of the China-India boundary has gone beyond the scope of domestic affairs. We are all clear about who the Dalai Lama is and what role he plays. As I said, by inviting the Dalai Lama for activities in the sensitive area where China and India have territorial disputes, the Indian side has violated its commitment on Tibet-related issues, and escalated the boundary dispute. We call on the Indian side to stop its erroneous act of using the Dalai Lama to undermine China’s interests.
Follow-up: The Indian official said it is a purely religious visit by the Dalai Lama, and he has visited this place 6 times earlier, and nothing particular significant should be attached to this. What is your comment on that?
A: We have noted the statement by the Indian official. But may I ask, do you really believe that the Dalai Lama is a purely religious figure? The answer is obvious. Since the Dalai Lama is not a purely religious figure, how can we say that his activities in the sensitive disputed area are for religious purposes only and nothing else? I believe you are all clear-headed on this and can see through all the arguments. We hope that the Indian side will respect China’s interests and concerns on this issue, and stop using the Dalai Lama to undermine China’s interests.
Q: You mentioned in your reply that Dalai Lama’s visit would escalate a border dispute between India and China. In what sense will it escalate the dispute? What measures is China likely to take as you said that India went ahead with the visit in disregard of China’s concerns. In terms of lodging representations with the Indian side, has it been conveyed to the Indian ambassador to Beijing?
A: I would like to reiterate that Tibet-related issues bear on China’s core interests. The Chinese side holds a consistent and clear position on the eastern section of the China-India boundary. In disregard of China’s concerns and representations, the Indian side insists on arranging the Dalai Lama’s visit to the disputed part of China-India boundary. It certainly will hurt China’s interests and the China-India relationship, and will bring nothing good to the Indian side. We ask the Indian side to stop using the Dalai Lama to undermine China’s interests. We also hope that the Indian side will not hype up sensitive issues between the two countries, but take solid steps to safeguard the overall interests of the bilateral relationship. We have said multiple times before that a sound and stable relationship between China and India, who are close neighbors and major Asian countries, is in the interests of not only the two countries, but also stability and prosperity of the whole region. We hope to maintain the sound momentum of bilateral relations, but it requires the joint efforts of both sides. The Chinese side will lodge solemn representations with the Indian side about this.