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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Sikkim is part of India, concedes Chinese envoy

June 24, 2008

Times of India
June 22, 2008

KOLKATA -- Newly appointed Chinese consul general in Kolkata Mao
Siwei has said Beijing recognizes Sikkim as part of India. But the
diplomat said he thinks the border dispute between India and China
won’t be settled soon.

During former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's visit to Beijing,
"the Chinese side had recognized Sikkim as a state of the Indian
Union," he said at a meeting of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce on Saturday.

At the same time, he mentioned about "uneasy problems which will take
time to resolve," presumably referring to the Sino-Indian border as a
whole, which included Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh where the two
sides had conflicting claims.

According to Mao, the Sikkim-Tibet border had been settled in 1890
after Sikkim was brought under British protection, and not in 1959
(when the Chinese had consolidated their hold over Tibet by crushing
a Tibetan uprising).

He said this border was to run along the watersheds. For the record,
a convention between Great Britain and China signed in Kolkata on
March 17, 1890, says "the boundary of Sikkim and Tibet shall be the
crest of the mountain range separating the water flowing into the
Sikkim Teesta and its effluents from the waters flowing into the
Tibetan Mochu and northwards into other rivers of Tibet."

Mao also said the border had been demarcated only on paper at that
time, no demarcation on ground had taken place. "You cannot call
these incursions," he said, arguing that there were differences of
perception over where the border lay.

He agreed that disputes should not continue - "When at times it is a
matter of a kilometre or so" - but parried the question when asked if
the border demarcation in Sikkim should be done on ground by a joint survey.
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