India-China ties: Gold mine may become flashpoint

India-China ties: Gold mine may become flashpoint

China has begun large-scale mining operations on its side of the border with Arunachal Pradesh, where gold, silver and other precious minerals valued at about $60 billion have been found, a media report said on Sunday.
The mine project is being undertaken in the Lhunze county adjacent to the Indian border, which is under Chinese control, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
Projecting the mining operations as part of China’s move to take over Arunachal Pradesh, the report said, “people familiar with the project say the mines are part of an ambitious plan by Beijing to reclaim south Tibet.” China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet. “China’s moves to lay claim to the region’s natural resources while rapidly building up infrastructure could turn it into ‘another South China Sea’ they said,” it said.
The South China Morning Post report, which features inputs from local officials, Chinese geologists as well as strategic experts, comes less than a month after the first ever informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping. The meeting was aimed at cooling tensions to avert incidents like the 73-day Doklam military stand-off last year, a new low in bilateral ties.
Lhunze was in the news in October 2017, about two months after Doklam, when Mr. Xi, in a rare gesture, replied to correspondence from a herding family in Yumai, China’s smallest town in terms of population and located close to Arunachal Pradesh, underscoring Beijing’s claim to the area. Mr. Xi had thanked the family and urged the people of Lhunze to “set down roots”.