Chinese plans to build an observatory in the Tibet autonomous region (TAR) will not impact India as it is not in an area that is in dispute between the two countries, diplomatic sources have said. A leading Chinese astronomer was last week quoted by the official Xinhua news agency that a “…remote area in southwest China's Tibet autonomous region may be chosen as the location for a new international astronomical observatory.”
The article quoted scientist Yao Yongqiang as saying the planned observatory will enable scientists from China, Japan and South Korea to build large-scale telescopes and carry out joint research programs.
He indicated the observatory could come up near Shiquanhe town in Ngari prefecture of the TAR. The town, known in Mandarin as Ali, is 100 kilometres in Chinese territory from the international boundary, said diplomatic sources in New Delhi, and is an area that is accepted as Chinese territory by India. “This is well within Chinese sovereign area,” said a source.
The Aksai Chin areas in Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Arunchal Pradesh are two border dispute flashpoints between the two countries; parts of Aksai Chin fall in the TAR. But almost all of Aksai Chin is in Xinjiang province, not in Tibet, so any construction in the TAR is unlikely to ever be on disputed territory.
Some Indian media reports mistakenly claimed that “Shiquanhe” is the Chinese name for Aksai Chin. This was disputed by Chinese officials in New Delhi who said the Chinese name for Aksai Chin is “Akesaiqin”.
Yao told Xinhua that the place near the town of Shiquanhe, with easy access to traffic and limited clouds and vapors but high transparency, would be ideal for observation activities and has therefore been recommended by the East Asia Core Observatories Association (EACOA) at a recent meeting in Beijing, he said.
“EACOA, comprising astronomers from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Japan and the Republic of Korea, made the recommendation after two years of joint site surveying with the National Astronomical Observatories on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Pamirs Plateau in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region,” the article said.
China’s astronomical observatory plan in Aksai Chin raises brows
BEIJING: China is pushing Japan and South Korea to establish an astronomical observatory in Aksai Chin, a remote part of Jammu & Kashmir that Beijing occupied after the 1962 war and had Islamabad cede parts of the region to it a year later. The move will raise eyebrows in the Indian security establishment.
A Chinese scientist on Sunday said East Asia Core Observatories Association (EACOA) - with China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as its members - has identified a site in Aksai Chin for the observatory.
Yao told Xinhua news agency the association had surveyed sites in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Pamirs Plateau in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, but the observatory is likely to be set up in "Tibet'' this year.
The association's website shows one of its proposed sites in Aksai Chin in Tibet . Ali in Tibet's Ngari Prefecture that falls within Aksai Chin is the proposed site for the observatory.
"EACOA directors reached a consensus that a review and evaluation meeting are urgently needed among regional excepts, aiming to update EACOA on relevant site survey progress, particularly focus on the sitetesting metrology, instrumentations, procedures and data analysis performed on the candidate site at Ali (Aksai Chin) Tibet," the association said.
The move comes as Beijing has been asking India to pull out of oil exploration from the disputed areas of the South China Sea off the Vietnamese coast. Experts see the Chinese proposal for the observatory as an attempt to complicate the Aksai Chin dispute by drawing in Japan and South Korea.
China dares India, plans observatory in Aksai Chin
New Delhi: China has dared India again by trying to legitimise its control over Aksai Chin in Ladakh. Reports from Beijing say it has asked Korean and Japanese companies to build what it calls an astronomical observatory in either Aksai Chin or Tibet.
Aksai Chin is a remote part of Jammu & Kashmir that Beijing occupied after the 1962 war. Pakistan ceded parts of the region to China a year later.
The East Asia Core Observatories Association (EACOA) with China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as its members has identified Aksai Chin for the observatory after surveying several areas in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Pamirs Plateau in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
A remote area in Tibet can also be chosen as the location for the new international astronomical observatory, because of "limited clouds and vapours" but "high transparency" ideal for observation activities.
The planned observatory will enable scientists from China, Japan and South Korea to build large-scale telescopes and carry out joint research programmes, said Yao Yongqiang, chief researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
A possible location for the new observatory will be in the mountains of Tibet's Ngari prefecture, at an altitude of over 5,000 metres, Yao told Xinhua news agency.
Yao said astronomical telescopes will be installed at the Ngari observatory this year to carry out research on planetary science, star formation and gamma-ray bursts.
The Qinghai-Tibet plateau has long been a popular location for stargazers. The 13th king of ancient Tibet's Yuyuhun kingdom, who reigned from 481 to 490 AD, built an observatory in the Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan prefecture in Qinghai province.
A cosmic ray observatory has also been built in Yangbajing in Damxung county, about 90 km from Lhasa.
Chinese observatory not in Indian claimed land, say officials - Hindustan Times
China’s astronomical observatory plan in Aksai Chin raises brows - The Economic Times