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China criticises ‘Tibet PM’ for India dinner

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jan 29, 2017, 6:10 am IST
Updated : Jan 29, 2017, 6:23 am IST

Verma demitted office more than a week ago just before the new Trump administration assumed office.

Lobsang Sangay
 Lobsang Sangay

New Delhi: China has reportedly raised objections to a dinner hosted recently by former US ambassador to India Richard Verma that was attended by Union minister of state (MoS) for home affairs Kiren Rijiju and ‘Prime Minister’ of the Tibetan government-in-exile Lobsang Sangay.

Mr Verma demitted office more than a week ago just before the new Trump administration assumed office. Mr Rijiju is a resident of Arunachal Pradesh.

China is extremely sensitive to any foreign dignitaries interacting with Tibetan leaders who do not recognise Tibet as part of China. China also regards the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh — which it refers to as south Tibet — as part of its territory.

Reacting to the event, the Chinese foreign ministry was quoted as telling news agency told PTI in Beijing that “No country in the world recognises the so-called Tibetan government-in-exile. We are firmly against any country’s official contact with it in any form, and resolutely opposed to any country’s interference in China’s internal affairs by using Tibet- related issues as an excuse.”

Winding up his tenure in New Delhi, Mr Verma reportedly hosted the dinner on January 15 for his visiting friend and Hollywood actor Richard Gere, in what may signal prominence to the Tibet issue in international fora.

Mr Rijiju had tweeted about the January 15 event on Friday along with a picture showing Mr Sangay and Mr Gere, among others.

“Nice meeting my dear friend Richard Gere again. Thank you HE Richard Verma for a wonderful dinner & great tenure as USA Ambassador to India,” Mr Rijiju tweeted.

“Both of them are great friends of India and contributed a lot in many areas,” the minister added. In October last year, China had objected to Mr Verma’s visit to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

Tags: kiren rijiju, richard verma, lobsang sangay