April 5, 2017 / 7:36 AM / 5 months ago

China denounces India hosting Dalai Lama in disputed region

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama arrives to deliver teachings in Bomdila, in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, India April 5, 2017.Anuwar Hazarika

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Wednesday that India's decision to host Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on a contested stretch of land on the India-China border would cause serious damage to relations between the two countries.

Plans for the Dalai Lama to kick off on Thursday a week-long trip to Arunchal Pradesh, an eastern Himalayan region administered by New Delhi, but claimed by China as "southern Tibet", has raised hackles in Beijing, which labels the monk a dangerous separatist.

"China expresses firm opposition to this and will lodge stern representations with the Indian side," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswomen Hua Chunying told a regular briefing in the Chinese capital.

By ignoring China's concerns and persisting in arranging the trip, India had "severely damaged China's interests and China-India relations", she said.

"We demand that India immediately cease using the Dalai Lama's mistaken behavior to damage China's interests," Hua added.

"It will not bring any benefit to India. China will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights."

Reporting by Michael Martina; Writing by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Nick Macfie and Clarence Fernandez

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