Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Balen Shah has cancelled China visit taking exception to the recent map issued by the northern neighbor.
Taking to Facebook on Thursday Mayor Shah has stated that he has cancelled his China visit on moral grounds pointing that the Chinese map published Monday on the Ministry of Natural Resources website used the old map of Nepal.
The government on May 20, 2020 had issued a new map of Nepal including areas of Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipu Lekh currently encroached by India. The territorial area of Nepal increased by 335 square kilometers with inclusion of the territory up to Limpyadhura.
But the new Chinese map has included the old map of Nepal.
Mayor Shah's personal secretary Bhup Dev Shah, however, has stated that the former has cancelled the China visit due to his busy schedule.
"There was an exchange program in China. Office-bearers of different cities were invited for promotion of tourism," Bhup Dev has added. "He has just put his opinion on Facebook for showing the pointed map including Kalapani in India without consulting (Nepal). This is also another reason but the main reason for not going to China is busy schedule.
The new Chinese map has also not pleased India as it clearly shows Arunachal Pradesh and the Doklam Plateau, over which the two sides have feuded, included within Chinese borders, along with Aksai Chin in the western section that China controls but India still claims.
Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar Subhramanyam also dismissed China’s claim in a television interview on Tuesday night.
“We are very clear what our territories are. There should be no doubt about that. Just making absurd claims don’t make other people’s territory yours,” he said.
China recently refused to stamp out visas on the passports of officials from Arunachal Pradesh state in India’s northeast, using a stapled-in certificate instead, implying the Chinese claim on the territory.
It also refuses to recognize India’s sovereignty over the part of Kashmir it controls and declined to send a delegation to a G20 meeting over there in May.
Last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi informally spoke to China’s President Xi on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, where the premier highlighted New Delhi’s concerns about their unresolved border issues.
India’s foreign ministry said the two leaders agreed to intensify efforts to de-escalate tensions at the disputed border and bring home thousands of their troops deployed there.
The disputed boundary has led to a three-year standoff between tens of thousands of Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Ladakh area. A clash three years ago in the region killed 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese.
“The two sides should bear in mind the overall interests of their bilateral relations and handle properly the border issue so as to jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border region,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said after the two leaders’ meeting.
Indian and Chinese military commanders had met earlier this month in an apparent effort to stabilize the situation.
A border, dubbed the “Line of Actual Control,” separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety.
India and China had fought a war over their border in 1962. China claims some 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) of territory in India’s northeast, including Arunachal Pradesh with its mainly Buddhist population.
India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau, which India considers part of Ladakh, where the current faceoff is happening.
(With inputs about Indian reaction from AP)