Xi Jinping pledged to bolster construction along Tibet’s Himalayan frontier, as the Chinese president reaffirmed Beijing’s control in his first official trip to the border region.
Xi called on ethnic Tibetans and other minority groups Friday to help defend the country in a visit timed to mark the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party’s control over the area, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The trip, which included a stop in the Chinese military hub of Nyingtri, comes as tensions simmer along the country’s contested border with India, amid claims by both sides of aggressive troop movements and infrastructure building.
“His message will be especially troubling for India,” said Robert Barnett, a British academic who has written about Tibet, as he posted videos showing the Chinese leader speaking to locals. Barnett said Xi’s trip “suggests that he places the border struggle with India close to the very top of China’s national agenda.”