China today refuted allegations of denial of visa to the manager of the Indian badminton team on the ground that he is a resident of Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as Southern Tibet, saying he himself cancelled his visa application.
Bamang Tago, who is also the Secretary of Arunachal Pradesh Badminton Association, had applied for a Chinese visa at its embassy in New Delhi to travel to Fuzhou for the ongoing China Super Series Premier badminton tournament.
"What you said does not comply with the facts," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters here while commenting on the Tago's visa issue.
"According to what we learnt that the person you have mentioned had previously gone to the Chinese embassy in India for visa application but later he himself cancelled the visa application," Geng claimed.
Asked whether Togo was denied visa because he hails from Arunachal Pradesh, Geng said, "the way China issues visa to relevant people is a flexible approach adopted by China to facilitate exchanges between two sides pending the final settlement of the boundary question".
"It fully reflects China's sincerity and flexibility. We hope that India will work together with China to maintain sound momentum of personnel exchanges and cooperation in different fields between the two sides," he said.
China in the past has declined visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh as it considers the area to be part of the Southern Tibet.
Reports from New Delhi said Tago has approached Ministry of External Affairs after he was denied visa by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi "on ground of Arunachal domiciles", a day after applying for the travel document on November 10.
Following this External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, "this matter has been brought to our notice now. Government's position on differential treatment of Indian passport holders is clear and well known. We have conveyed it to the Chinese side".
"We expect them to address this issue in the spirit of reciprocity and smooth development of bilateral relations," Swarup had said.