US rebuffs China’s attempt at renaming 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh

New Delhi/Washington: The US has said it recognises Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India and it strongly opposes any unilateral attempts to advance territorial claims by renaming localities, following China’s attempt at “renaming” 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing calls southern Tibet. White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre, in response to a query on what is the US’ view on China renaming 11 places in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, said:  “…the United States, as you know, has recognized that territory for a long time. And we strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to advance territorial claims by renaming localities. “And so, again, this is something that we have long stood by,” she said. Her response came as Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning on Tuesday, commenting on the reasoning behind China’s move to rename the 11 places in the northeastern Indian state, said in Beijing, that it is “within China’s sovereign rights”.
“Zangnan is part of China’s territory. In accordance with relevant stipulations of the administration of geographical names of the State Council, competent authorities of the Chinese government have standardized the names of some parts of Zangnan. This is within China’s sovereign rights,” she said. “Zangnan” is Beijing’s name for what it calls the southern part of Tibet, the area falling in Arunachal Pradesh, which it lays claim to.
On Tuesday, India’s Ministry of External Affairs had strongly rejected China’s attempt at “renaming” 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, in a statement, said that attempts by China to “assign invented names will not alter this reality” of Arunachal Pradesh being an integral part of India. The statement read:
“We have seen such reports. This is not the first time China has made such an attempt. We reject this outright.Arunachal Pradesh is, has been, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. Attempts to assign invented names will not alter this reality.”
China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs released the standardised names in Chinese for 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh, which it referred to as “Zangnan”. The names were released in Chinese, Tibetan, and Pinyin characters following regulations on geographical names issued by the State Council, China’s cabinet. The list includes precise coordinates for two land areas, two residential areas, five mountain peaks, and two rivers, along with their subordinate administrative districts. This is the third batch of standardised geographical names for Arunachal Pradesh, issued by China’s civil affairs ministry, with the first batch of six places announced in 2017 and the second batch of 15 places in 2021. India has earlier too dismissed the Chinese attempt of renaming places in Arunachal Pradesh. Earlier this year, a bipartisan resolution was introduced in the US Senate to recognise Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India. The resolution condemns additional Chinese provocations, including China’s use of military force to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control, construction of villages in contested areas, publication of maps with Mandarin-language names for cities and features in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, and expansion of Beijing’s territorial claims in Bhutan “The United States recognises the state of Arunachal Pradesh not as a disputed territory but as an integral part of the Republic of India, and this recognition is not qualified in any way,” says the bipartisan resolution introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, and Bill Hagerty, a Republican. Senator John Cornyn, Co-Chair of the India Caucus, has co-sponsored the resolution. In October 2016, then US Ambassador Richard Verma had attended the Tawang Festival, while in 2019 then US envoy Kenneth Juster too had attended the Tawang festival in Arunachal Pradesh, angering Beijing.The US government had termed the ambassador’s visit “support” for India’s sovereignty.

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