ANKARA

Upping the ante amid military stand-off in the Himalayan Ladakh region, China on Monday asserted it “never recognized” the “so-called Arunachal Pradesh” as a province of India.

Addressing a news conference in Beijing, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “China has never recognized so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’, which is China’s south Tibet region,” daily Global Times reported.

Arunachal Pradesh, with a population of nearly 1.8 million, divides China and India in latter’s north-eastern region.

The statement by China comes at a time when the two countries are locked in a serious military stand-off in Ladakh area of disputed Jammu and Kashmir region since this May.

The two countries have been in conflict over the region as China claims sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh which is under effective control of India.

Zhao was responding to alleged missing of five Indians from the region.

A minister in Narendra Modi government, Kiren Rijiju, said Sunday the Indian Army has reached out to their counterparts in China over reports that five villagers from Arunachal Pradesh were allegedly “abducted” by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Sept. 4. Rijiju is a parliament member from Arunachal Pradesh.

“We have no details to release yet about question on Indian army sending a message to PLA about five missing Indians in the region,” Zhao added.

‘US destroying free market, competition neutrality’

Beijing also slammed Washington for, what it called, “destroying the free market, competition neutrality, the spirit of the rule of law, and international norms, which the US traditionally prides itself on”.

Urging counteraction to the US moves by international community, Zhao said China “strongly opposes US abuse of national security concept, imposing wide range of restrictions on Chinese firms without evidence, which is pure hegemony”. Zhao was responding to the recent moves by the US against China’s top chipmaker SMIC.

“By refusing to compete in a fair and transparent way, the US is trying to capitalize on its own strengths to create a world like that in George Orwell’s ‘1984’ and export it to the 21st century,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said, responding to “smearing remarks” by some US politicians against China.

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