Home News China to ‘de-escalate’ military tensions with India ahead of US meeting

China to ‘de-escalate’ military tensions with India ahead of US meeting


India declared that 20 of its soldiers were killed in the worst clash in the region for over four decades, China, however, has failed to comment on its losses.

Indian news outlets claim that between 35 and 43 Chinese soldiers were killed and seriously injured.

PLA Western Theatre Command spokesman Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili said on Tuesday that the fight in the Galwan River valley resulted in deaths for both parties, but he did not specify further.

China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the two nations were “committed to solving our differences through dialogue”, but did not mention death numbers.

A source close to the PLA told the South China Morning Post that Beijing was “very sensitive” about its military deaths.

The source added that all figured had to be authorised by President Xi Jinping, who leads the Central Military Commission, before being published.

The person, who requested to stay anonymous, said that China was weary of how the quarrel might affect its image ahead of a meeting between China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday in Hawaii.

“China certainly wants to de-escalate the situation ahead of the Yang-Pompeo meeting,” he said.

“But if other countries want to take advantage of [the border dispute] … our troops will react accordingly.”

A second source, also close to the PLA, said China was being particularly careful because the combat took place in the Galwan valley.

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“China doesn’t want to fight India, but that doesn’t mean it’s scared to go to war. The PLA is prepared for the worst.”

Zhou Chenming, a military expert based in Beijing, concurred, adding that the recent increment in high-altitude military activities by PLA troops was meant as a warning to India that they are prepared to fight.

“Indian troops said they would not tolerate aggression from China as it was no longer 1962,” he said.

“But do they realise that today’s Chinese army is not the one that fought in 1962? China was able to defeat India then and could do so again.”

Sun Shihai, an expert on Indian affairs at Sichuan University, said he believed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be willing to discuss de-escalation Mr Xi.


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