Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Saturday said he was surprised at China's protest against his planned visit to an area of India claimed by Beijing, hinting he backed India on the border issue.
The Dalai Lama also criticised China's one-party rule and its state-controlled media, while praising India's "successful" democracy.
The Buddhist monk, who arrived in Tokyo Friday for a week-long stay in Japan ahead of his November 8 visit to Arunachal Pradesh state in northeast India where China and India fought a border war in 1962.
"I was surprised" at China's criticism of the planned visit, the Dalai Lama told reporters when asked about the motive behind his trip.
"Because in (19)62, the People's Liberation Army already reached that area, already occupied... then India sort of pushed them back. The Chinese government unilaterally (made) ceasefire, withdrawal," he said. "So what's the problem?"
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after China crushed an anti-Chinese uprising in Tibet, is viewed as a "splittist" by Beijing, although he says he wants autonomy rather than full independence for his Himalayan homeland.
China has said it is "firmly opposed" to the Dalai Lama's trip to Arunachal Pradesh