Beijing, Jan. 19 (Reuters) : China today lodged a protest with Tokyo after Japan's foreign minister was quoted as saying that Arunachal Pradesh was "India's territory".
Japan's Sankei Shimbun, a conservative daily, quoted Fumio Kishida as having made the remarks in New Delhi on Saturday.
Japan played down the issue today, saying it could not confirm Kishida's reported remarks. It added that it hoped India and China could resolve their border dispute peacefully.
Kishida's reported remarks drew an angry response from China, which called on Tokyo to "understand the sensitivity of the Sino-India boundary issue".
A Japanese foreign ministry spokesperson said "the statement was made considering the reality that Arunachal Pradesh state is basically in reality controlled by India and that China and India are continuing negotiations over the border dispute".
China disputes the entire territory of Arunachal, calling it south Tibet, especially Tawang, a key site for Tibetan Buddhism. The historic town briefly fell into Chinese hands during their 1962 war before Beijing retreated.