US Ambassador to India Kenneth I Juster in the presence of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju inaugurates the 7th Edition of Tawang festival, in Tawang on Monday

The US administration on Wednesday said the American ambassador’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh highlights its support for Indian sovereignty, a message apparently aimed at China which claims most of the northeastern state.

US envoy Kenneth Juster’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, where he inaugurated the Tawang Festival on Monday, could upset China. A similar visit in 2016 by then US ambassador Richard Verma had sparked a terse exchange between New Delhi and Beijing.

Alice Wells, the Trump administration’s pointperson for South Asia, tweeted on Wednesday: .@USAmbIndia’s #Tawang visit highlights resolute U.S. support for Indian sovereignty and commitment to local partnerships. She said US funding supports joint public health and social sciences activities in Arunachal Pradesh.

Juster said in a separate tweet that it was an honour for him to be the chief guest at the Tawang Festival and to inaugurate its seventh edition. He used the hash tag #USIndiaDosti in several tweets about his visit.

China views any high-profile visits to Arunachal Pradesh by foreign dignitaries or the Dalai Lama with considerable wariness, and has even protested to India about such trips in the past.

Juster’s visit has been full of symbolism. Over the past few days, he has travelled to the Urgelling Gompa in Tawang, where the sixth Dalai Lama was born, and interacted with Buddhist monks and nuns at Sera Jey and Tawang monasteries and Brahmadung-Chung Ani Gompa nunnery.

At several events, he was joined by Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu and Union minister Kiren Rijiju, who also welcomed him to the state on his arrival. China claims some 90,000 sq km in Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers to as South Tibet.