Sun Weidong, China’s ambassador to India, has acknowledged that there were Chinese “casualties” too in the June 15 clashes in Galwan Valley in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed. In the first acknowledgement by Beijing of Chinese casualties, Sun, during the course of an interview Thursday, told the PTI news agency about “fierce physical conflicts and casualties between the two sides”.
Until now, Chinese officials had been speaking of “casualties” without specifying on which side of the LAC. While India released the names of its personnel who fell fighting, China remained silent.
The transcript of Ambassador Sun’s interview has been posted online by the Chinese embassy.
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times, too has written about deaths in the Chinese ranks in the Galwan Valley clashes.
Paying “high tribute to the PLA officers and soldiers”, Hu wrote: “I believe that the dead have been treated with the highest respect in the military, and that the information will eventually be reported to society at the right time, so that heroes can be honored and remembered as they deserve.”
So far, the Chinese statements were ambiguous about casualties on their side. On June 19, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian spoke of “fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties”. He repeated this on June 24 without specifying casualties on the Chinese side. But a day later, Ambassador Sun made clear there were “casualties between the two sides”.
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