China today said there is a "huge dispute" with India over Arunachal Pradesh and it is an "undeniable fact" even as it echoed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s views that the two countries should create favourable conditions for a mutually-acceptable settlement of the vexed boundary issue.
"There is a huge dispute in the eastern border of China-India border. This is undeniable fact," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hu Chunying told media here when asked about Indian Government extending controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Arunachal Pradesh.
"China always holds consistent and clear position on the China-India boundary question. The two sides should make joint efforts to maintain peace tranquillity of the border area and create favourable conditions for the negotiation of the boundary question," she said.
Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,126 km border with China and 520 km border with Myanmar. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet.
China calling the border issue a "huge dispute" and "undeniable fact" is seen as an attempt by Beijing to flag its stand on Arunachal Pradesh ahead of Modi’s expected visit to China next month.
Her comments came as the top defence officials of the two countries are meeting here ahead of the Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) scheduled for tomorrow.
Hua sounded positive while reacting to Modi’s remarks on the border issue made in an interview to an Indian newspaper and endorsed his views that maintaining peace at the border is important in order to create conditions to arrive at a mutually-acceptable solution.
"We have taken note of remarks made by Prime Minister Modi. China has always taken a positive attitude on the China-India boundary question," she said.
"Last September while visiting India, President Xi Jinping said publicly that China is confident to resolve the boundary question together with the Indian side though friendly negotiations and maintaining peace and tranquillity of the border area," she said.
"It is a common responsibility of common aspiration of the India and China to resolve the boundary question. We have made enormous efforts to this end," she said, highlighting 18 rounds of Special Representatives talks to "exchange views".
"Progress has been made in this regard. We are willing to work with India to press ahead with the negotiations process to reach a comprehensive and reasonable solution that is acceptable to both the parties," she said.
Showing its sensitivity on Arunachal Pradesh, China had recently strongly protested to India over Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the border state.
China says the border dispute is confined only to 2,000 kms mostly in Arunachal Pradesh whereas India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 kms, especially the Aksai Chin area annexed by China in 1962 war.