China on Tuesday angrily rejected India's assertion that Arunachal Pradesh is its integral part, insisting that Beijing never recognised the 'illegal' McMahon Line and that the status of the border state was 'never officially demarcated'.
Deeply regretting External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement that Arunachal Pradesh was part of India, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said New Delhi has not taken into account the 'historical facts'.
"We deeply regret the Indian side's remarks, that take no regard of the historical facts," Qin said when asked to comment on Mukherjee's comments on Sunday in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh that the state was an integral part of India and that China was aware of it.
"China and India have never officially settled demarcation of borders, and China's stance on the eastern section of China-India borders is consistent and clear-cut," Qin said at a regular bi-weekly news briefing.
"The current Chinese government, as well as previous ones, has never recognised the illegal McMahon Line," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Qin as saying.
"India knows this," Qin said, referring to the McMahon Line, the demarcation line drawn on the map referred to the Simla Convention in 1914. Although China disputes its legal status, the McMahon Line is currently the effective boundary between China and India.
Mukherjee had also said that "China is often making claims on Arunachal Pradesh, but Arunachal Pradesh has a special place in our heart."
"People of Arunachal Pradesh regularly elect two representatives to the Lok Sabha and there is an elected state assembly carrying out the responsibility of administration like any of other 27 states. The question of parting company with Arunachal or any of its part does not arise," he had said.
As for the pending boundary issue between China and India, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that China is willing to find a solution, which is 'fair, reasonable and acceptable' to the two sides, through peaceful and friendly negotiation in the spirit of mutual understanding and adjustment.
Mukherjee's rejection of the Chinese claim on Arunachal Pradesh follows recent declaration of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a visit to the state that Arunachal was 'our land of rising sun'.
This is the second time within a week that Beijing has reacted sharply to Mukherjee's remarks on China.
On November 7, China had rejected an apparent 'China threat' remark made by him during a speech.
India says China is illegally occupying 43,180 sq kms of Jammu and Kashmir including 5,180 sq km illegally ceded to Beijing by Islamabad under the Sino-Pakistan boundary agreement in 1963. On the other hand, China accuses India of possessing some 90,000 sq km of Chinese territory, mostly in Arunachal Pradesh.