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'96 pc Chinese against Indian visits to Arunachal'

October 14, 2009 16:56 IST
Upping the ante on Arunachal Pradesh, a leading Chinese official newspaper on Wednesday said that an 'overwhelming majority' of its web users were against the 'frequent' visits to the 'disputed area' by Indian leaders.

An online poll conducted on Tuesday by 'huanqiu.com', the website of the Global Times' Chinese edition, showed that an overwhelmingly majority of users were against the visits.

"About 96 per cent of the over 6,000 respondents agreed that they felt agitated by the frequent visits by Indian leaders to the disputed area, while about 2 per cent disagreed and 2 per cent said they didn't care," said the paper, a sister publication of the ruling Communist Party's mouthpiece, People's Daily.

The paper's rather unusual step of carrying out an online survey came a day after China again raked up its claim over Arunachal Pradesh, questioning Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit there on October 3.

"We demand the Indian side address China's serious concerns and not trigger disturbance in the disputed region so as to facilitate the healthy development of China-India relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement on Tuesday.

Reacting strongly to the Chinese objection to Prime Minister Singh's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, India said the comments were disappointing as the state is an inalienable part of the country and such remarks 'do not help' the process of talks on boundary issue.

Meanwhile, commenting on Singh's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, Ma Jiali, a senior researcher on South Asia at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said that as a head of government, it sets 'bad precedents.'

"The repeated visits by Indian leaders can make others believe the area is part of India and solidify the existing strategies they have applied to control the area, such as using administrative jurisdiction in the area and courting sympathy from the international community," Ma was quoted as saying by the paper.

China had also taken objection to Singh's visit to Arunachal Pradesh last year. Singh visited Arunachal on January 31 and February 1 last year, a few days after returning from a trip to China.

India maintains that China is illegally occupying 43,180 sq kms of Jammu and Kashmir. On the other hand, China accuses India of possessing some 90,000 sq km of Chinese territory, mostly in Arunachal Pradesh.

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