‘For sure it’s fake news’: China official on losing 40 soldiers in Ladakh
China on Tuesday dismissed as “fake news” reports indicating that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had suffered at least 40 casualties in the bruising brawl with Indian soldiers in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15.
While denying the reports on PLA casualties, the Chinese foreign ministry said Indian and Chinese militaries held a meeting on June 22 to resolve the ongoing tension through talks.
“China and India are in dialogue, in talks with each other to resolve this issue through diplomatic and military channels,” ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.
“As for what you saw in the media, for example, some people alleged that casualties on the Chinese side amounted to 40, I can tell you for sure that this is fake news,” Zhao said responding to a specific question on the PLA’s casualty numbers.
While the Indian Army lost 20 soldiers during the violent clash on the night of June 15, China has so far refused to reveal details of the casualties suffered by the PLA.
Union minister Gen VK Singh (retd) had indicated over the weekend that China could have suffered double the number of casualties in comparison to India numbers.
A commander-level meeting led by Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, and Major General Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang military region, was held on Monday, lasting for nearly 11 hours.
It was held at Moldo on the Chinese side of the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) with a focus on cooling tensions.
When asked about Monday’s meeting, Zhao said: “On June 22, the border troops of China and India held the second military-level meeting in the border area, which was also the first military-level meeting after the incident of the Galwan Valley on June 15.
Speaking at the regular ministry briefing, Zhao added that the “…holding of this meeting showed that the two sides hope to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, control the situation, and ease the situation.”
“During the meeting, based on the consensus of the first military-level meeting, the two sides exchanged frank and in-depth views on the outstanding issues in the current border control, and agreed to take necessary measures to promote the cooling of the situation,” spokesperson Zhao said.
“The two sides also agreed to maintain dialogue and jointly work together to promote peace and tranquility in the border areas,” he added.
When asked about details of the disengagement, Zhao said: “The specific measures are under discussion between the border troops of the two sides. I have no other information to release on this.”