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Sikkim goes off China's yearbook

Beijing, May 31
China today took another significant step to recognise Sikkim as a part of India by not showing the north-eastern state as an independent country in the just-released yearbook of the Foreign Ministry.

“China’s Foreign Affairs (2004 edition)’, released by Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing at a ceremony here at the Diaoyutai State Guest House, did not include Sikkim as an independent country, in tune with the promise Beijing had made during former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s historic visit to China in June last year.

In October 2003, the Foreign Ministry had taken the first step by removing Sikkim from its web page ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s meeting with Mr Vajpayee in Bali, Indonesia.

Till then, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s official website had mentioned Sikkim as an independent country, contesting Sikkim’s accession to India in 1975.

Earlier this month, the World Affairs Press under the Chinese Foreign Ministry published the World Affairs Yearbook 2003/2004, which for the first time stopped showing Sikkim as a separate country.

While the 2002-2003 edition of the World Affairs Yearbook’s world map showed Sikkim as a separate country, the 2003-2004 edition did not mention Sikkim at all, implying that China has quietly recognised India’s sovereignty over Sikkim.

However, China, publicly still maintains that the “Sikkim issue” can be solved “gradually”. — PTI

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