China's state-run media on Saturday reiterated the country's claim on Arunachal Pradesh, contending that the area is under "illegal Indian occupation".
Referring to President Pranab Mukherjee's current visit to Arunachal Pradesh, state-run Xinhua news agency highlighted the Chinese foreign ministry's statement urging India to refrain from moves that complicate boundary issues and restated Beijing’s claim to the territory.
"The so-called 'Arunachal Pradesh' was established largely on the three areas of China's Tibet - Monyul, Loyul and Lower Tsayul -- currently under Indian illegal occupation," the report said.
"These three areas, located between the illegal McMahon Line and the traditional customary boundary between China and India, have always been Chinese territory," it said.
Xinhua also referred to foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang's statement in response to Mukherjee's two-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
"China's stance on the disputed area on the eastern part of the China-India border is consistent and clear," it quoted Qin as saying.
Bilateral ties have maintained a sound momentum for growth and both sides are trying to settle the border issue through the special representative mechanism and friendly consultations, he said.
"We hope India can work with China to protect the overall relationship, preserve peace and tranquility on the border," Qin said.
China's reaction to Mukherjee's visit was in marked contrast to its reaction to a trip to Arunachal Pradesh by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009. At that time, China said it was "deeply upset" about his visit to the "disputed region".
Image: A soldier of the Indian army stands guard in his bunker in Bordumsa village on the road to India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh ' Photograph: Parth Sanyal/Reuters