President Xi Jinping has told herdsmen from a Tibetan settlement bordering Arunachal Pradesh to "set down roots" to safeguard "Chinese territory" and focus on developing their hometown.
"Without peace in the territory, there will be no peaceful lives for the millions of families," Xi, who began his second term in office after the once-in-five-years Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) this week endorsed his second tenure, wrote to a herding family in Lhunze County in Tibet, official media reported on Sunday.
Xi told the herding family from Lhunze County, near the Himalayas in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, to set down roots in the border area, safeguard "Chinese territory" and develop their hometown.
India says that the Sino-Indian border dispute covers the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control, while China claims it is confined to about 2,000 km to the area of Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers to as Southern Tibet.
The family is based in Yumai, China's smallest town in terms of population at the southern foot of the Himalayas, where steep slopes and rugged paths make it difficult to live, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Xi acknowledged the family's efforts to "safeguard the territory, and thanked them for the loyalty and contributions they have made in the border area," the report said.
Xi, who also heads the Central Military Commission - the overall high command of the Chinese military, made the remarks in a reply delivered to the Tibetan herders yesterday, after they wrote to him introducing their township, the Xinhua report said.
The Chinese president hoped that the family would motivate more herders to set down roots in the border area "like galsang flowers," and become guardians of Chinese territory and builders of a happy hometown.
Fresh off the 19th CPC Congress, Xi told the family that the party would continue to lead people of all ethnic groups towards better lives, the report said.
Two girls - Zhoigar and Yangzom - from the Tibetan family wrote the letter to Xi while the Congress was in session in Beijing, telling him their experiences in safeguarding the border area and the development of their township over the years.