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India to blame for shutting down pilgrimage route to Tibet: Foreign Ministry

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 14:12, June 29, 2017

India should be blamed for the shutdown of the pilgrimage route to Tibet, which is unlikely to be reopened if the Indian side cannot correct its mistake in a timely manner, said China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

"I want to stress that Indian pilgrims' trip to Xi Zang requires necessary atmosphere and conditions. The Indian side is to blame for the trip not being able to take place as scheduled," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang during a regular press conference, adding that the timetable for the route's reopening entirely depends on whether the Indian side can correct its mistakes in a timely manner.

The remarks were made after Indian troops had crossed the Sikkim border into Chinese territory. China has already demanded their immediate withdrawal, and has blocked entry of Indian pilgrims traveling to Tibet.

"The Chinese side has made enormous efforts against all odds to facilitate Indian officially-organized pilgrims' trip to Xi Zang (Tibet). The arrangements ran well over the past two years, and the relevant department of China has previously made preparation for this year's reception," said Lu.

Lu also denounced third-party attempts to complicate the situation, as some foreign reports have been hyping-up Doklam, the area where the standoff took place, as a disputed region between China and Bhutan.

"Doklam has been part of China since ancient times...It does not belong to Bhutan, still less India. China's construction of road in Doklam is an act of sovereignty on its own territory," Lu reiterated, also noting that any third-party interference is a disrespectful gesture to Bhutan's sovereignty.

According to the Foreign Ministry, there is solid legal evidence to support the delimitation of the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary. It is stated in article one of the Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet (1890) that "the boundary of Sikkim and Tibet shall be the crest of the mountain range separating the waters flowing into the Sikkim Teesta and its affluents from the waters flowing into the Tibetan Mochu and northwards into other rivers of Tibet.



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