China today said it has lodged a diplomatic protest with India for hosting a Taiwanese parliamentary delegation, prompting New Delhi to dismiss the protest saying there is nothing unusual and no "political meanings" should be read into these trips.
"China lodged representations with India" over the Taiwan parliamentary delegation's visit to New Delhi, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media.
"We hope that India would understand and respect China’s core concerns and stick to the 'One-China' principle and prudently deal with Taiwan-related issues and maintain sound and steady development of India-China relations," Geng said.
A three-member women's parliamentary delegation from Taiwan visited India earlier this week amidst signals of increasing engagement between the two sides.
Taiwan currently has Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre located in New Delhi. India's office in Taiwan is called India-Taipei Association.
China has been objecting to such visits to India, maintaining that countries that have diplomatic relations with it should fulfil their commitment to the 'One China principle'.
China considers Taiwan as part of its mainland and opposes any diplomatic relations as well as political contacts with Taipei by countries which has diplomatic relations with it.
"We are always opposed to any forms of official contacts and exchanges between countries that have diplomatic ties with China and Taiwan (simultaneously) and we are also opposed to the establishment of any official institutions," Geng said responding to Taiwan's announcement that it plans to upgrade its office in India.
Geng said that "the Indian side has made commitment on the Taiwan-related issues."
The three-member member Taiwanese delegation visited India from February 12.
Elaborating further on China’s stand on Taiwanese Parliamentary delegation to India, Geng said "those who are visiting India are so called legislators from Taiwan" and Beijing is opposed to any official contacts between Taiwan and other countries with whom China has diplomatic relations.
"The reason why China lodged the representation is because that we have been requiring countries that have diplomatic relations with China to fulfil their commitment to the 'One China' principle," he said.
"So by making our representation we are urging the Indian side to stick to the 'One China' principle and take concrete actions for steady development of China-India relations," he said.
He also declined to answer a question about when the protest was lodged with India, saying that "not all the information about diplomatic activities are open to the public".
"All I can tell is China has lodged diplomatic representation with India," he said.
Earlier, Chinese media too warned India against playing the Taiwan card.
Responding to China’s protest, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said today, “We understand that a group of Taiwanese academics and business persons, including a couple of legislators, is visiting India. Such informal groups have visited India in the past as well for business, religious and tourist purposes.”
"I understand that they do so to China as well. There is nothing new or unusual about such visits and political meanings should not be read into them," he added.
(With PTI inputs)