China has objected strongly to Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee's comments about a disputed area that used to be part of Tibet.
While on a Sunday visit to the territory that India administers as Arunachal Pradesh, Mukherjee told reporters that China recognizes the region as an integral part of India. He said the area in northeastern India, in his words, "has a special place in our hearts."
But China's Foreign Ministry responded Tuesday by saying that the Indian official was ignoring historic facts. A Foreign Ministry spokesman denied that any agreement has been reached. He said China is willing to resolve the issue peacefully to the benefit of both China and India.
The spokesman also reiterated that the Chinese government has never accepted the legitimacy of the effective border. He called that demarcation -- the so-called McMahon line -- "illegal."
The line was established in a colonial-era treaty negotiated by representatives of Britain, China and Tibet. British and Tibetan representatives signed the 1914 agreement, part of which ceded control of the nearly 90-thousand square-kilometer territory to British India.
But China's envoy did not sign the agreement, and Chinese maps continue to show much of the area as part of China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
India and China are engaged in long-running negotiations over Arunachal Pradesh and other disputed border regions. The disagreements sparked a brief border war between the two countries in 1962.
information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.