China protests Indian PM's visit to disputed border region

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China said on Friday it had lodged an official protest against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to a border region claimed by both countries.

China disputes the entire territory of the north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, calling it south Tibet.

Its historic town Tawang, a key site for Tibetan Buddhism, was briefly occupied by Chinese forces during a 1962 war.

"The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called 'Arunachal Pradesh'," a statement on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website said on Friday.

It said Modi's visit was "not conducive to the overall development of bilateral relations".

Modi visited Arunachal Pradesh on Friday to inaugurate the opening of a train line and power station.

In January, China objected to statements by Japan's foreign ministry supporting India's claim to the region.

A visit by US President Barack Obama to India in January was widely seen as a sign Modi is moving closer to the United States to offset rising Chinese influence in Asia and in particular intensifying activity by the Chinese navy in the Indian Ocean.