Chinese President Xi Jinping has made a rare visit to Nyingchi, a strategically located Tibetan border town close to Arunachal Pradesh, the official media reported on Friday. Xi arrived at the Nyingchi Mainling Airport on Wednesday and was warmly welcomed by local people and officials of various ethnic groups, Xinhua news agency reported.
He then visited the Nyang River Bridge, to inspect the ecological preservation in the basin of the Brahmaputra river, which is called Yarlung Zangbo in the Tibetan language. Nyingchi is a prefecture-level city in Tibet that is adjacent to the Arunachal Pradesh border.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet, which is firmly rejected by India. The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Chinese leaders periodically visit Tibet. But Xi, who also heads the ruling Communist Party of China and the powerful Central Military Commission -- the overall high command of the Chinese military -- is perhaps the first top leader in recent years to visit Tibet’s border town.
Nyingchi was in news in June when China fully operationalized its first bullet train in Tibet. The train connects Tibet’s provincial capital Lhasa with Nyingchi. It has a designed speed of 160 km per hour and operates on a single-line electrified railway covering 435.5-km.