BEIJING, Feb. 19 (Reuters) - China said for the first time on Friday four Chinese soldiers died during a bloody Himalayan border clash with Indian troops in June 2020, adding that the men were given posthumous awards.
Chen Hongjun, Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran died during what Chinese state media described as a “fierce struggle” against “foreign troops” that violated an agreement and crossed into the Chinese side.
China and India have blamed each other for the skirmish in the western Himalayas, during which soldiers fought each other with nail-studded clubs and stones. India has previously said 20 of its soldiers died in the clash, while Beijing had acknowledged casualties but had not disclosed details.
Chen was posthumously awarded the title of “Guardian of the Frontier Hero,” while the other three men were also given first-class merit citations.
The two countries have sought to de-escalate the situation at the border, though there was another “minor face-off” between Indian and Chinese troops in January along the disputed borders.
China and India began to pull back pull back troops, tanks and other equipment from the banks of Pangong Tso, a glacial lake in the Ladakh region, that became a flashpoint in the prolonged border dispute after reaching an agreement to do so this month.