Arunachal disputed, policy “unchanged”: China

India-China so far have held 14 rounds of talks without much of success.

Beijing: China Monday said its policy that Arunachal Pradesh is a "disputed area" remains "unchanged", days after it issued stapled visas to two Indian sportsmen from the state which it claims as "Southern Tibet".

"China`s position is consistent and clear about the China-India border issue including the disputed area of
Eastern section and the Indian side is aware of it. The
position has remained unchanged," the Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesman`s office told reporters here.

Eastern section of the India-China border covers the Arunachal sector which is part of the dialogue mechanism to resolve it. India-China so far held 14 rounds of talks without
much of success.

The Foreign Ministry issued the clarification today to
a question asked last week over the controversy of issuing
stapled visas to two Indian sportsmen from Arunachal to take
part in the Weightlifting Grand Prix at Fujian province.

The two were turned away by the Indian immigration
officials as India do not recognise the stapled visas, while
External Affairs Ministry stated India will not honour such

The Foreign Ministry, however, did not clarify whether
the issuance of stapled visas or paper visas as they are known
meant any departure from its purported previous policy of not
to grant any visas to people of Arunachal Pradesh in support
of Chinese claim that the state is part of its territory
therefore its people did not need visas.

However Rong Ying, a Senior Research Fellow at the
state-run China Institute of International Studies, said while
China`s stand on the dispute remained unchanged, perhaps the
stapled visas were given as a "pragmatic" step to allow people
of Arunachal to visit China.
"Certainly we have to take the reality into
consideration as it is a disputed area and also we have to be
pragmatic if people wants to travel to China," Rong, an India
specialist at the Institute told reporters.

He said personally he believes that the stapled visas
were issued to enable the people of the area to travel to
China while the two countries made efforts to resolve the
boundary dispute.
Both sides have to be pragmatic keeping the reality
into consideration, he said, apparently meaning that India too
should permit those with stapled visas from Arunchal to travel
to China.

"I think there is no shift in China`s policy but it
will be good to facilitate their travel," he said, adding that
otherwise the people of the area cannot travel to China until
the dispute is resolved.


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