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China hits out at Indian Foreign Minister's border comments

The Arunachal Pradesh region.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 11, 2008
China objected strongly on Tuesday to comments by India's foreign minister in which he rejected Chinese claims over a border region long disputed by the two giants.

"We express deep regret over India's public remarks that ignore historic facts," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said during a regular news briefing.

Qin was responding to comments Sunday by Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who reportedly said China was "fully aware" that the state of Arunachal Pradesh -- which is claimed by China -- is "an integral part of India".

"China is often making claims on Arunachal Pradesh, but Arunachal Pradesh has a special place in our heart," Mukherjee said during a visit to the region, according to the Press Trust of India.

The two countries are engaged in long-running negotiations over disputed border regions, which triggered a brief but bloody war in 1962.

Although he stressed that the two sides were seeking a peaceful solution, Mukherjee said "the question of parting company with Arunachal or any of its parts does not arise."

But Qin said an official demarcation of the border remains to be carried out.

"No Chinese government in history has ever admitted the unlawful McMahon line," Qin said, referring to the boundary line claimed by India.

"India knows this."

India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometres (14,700 square miles) of its Himalayan territory, while Beijing claims all of Arunachal Pradesh, which is 90,000 square kilometres.

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France trumpets EU defences, key plank for NATO future
Brussels (AFP) Nov 10, 2008
French Defence Minister Herve Morin trumpeted Monday new progress made in boosting the European Union's military capacities, a key condition for France to fully reintegrate into NATO.

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