China’s Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said that the clashes between the soldiers of the two countries in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley in June was an “unfortunate incident”.

“Not long ago, an unfortunate incident happened in the border areas that neither China nor India would like to see,” the ambassador said at the China-India youth webinar. “Now we are working to handle it properly.” The ambassador made the remark during a webinar on August 18, but the transcript of his speech was released by the Chinese embassy on Tuesday.

The ambassador said that China considers India to be its partner and not a rival. “We hope to put the boundary question at an appropriate place in bilateral relations, properly handle differences through dialogue and consultation, and push bilateral relations back on track at an early date.”

Sun gave three explanations to highlight that China’s foreign policy towards India remained unchanged. “The first one is that the basic national conditions of China and India as the two largest neighbouring developing countries remain unchanged,” he said. “China and India have been neighbours for generations that cannot be moved away.”

“Second, the orientation of China and India as partners, friendly cooperation and common development remain unchanged,” the ambassador said. “Third, the general structure that China and India cannot develop without each other remains unchanged.”

Sun added that the bilateral ties between India and China had endured the test of time and they should not be disturbed. “We need to see that friendly cooperation between China and India is the mainstream and the general trend,” he said. “Only by seeing this can we maintain objective and rational judgment and correctly handle the differences between the two sides.We should have full confidence in the development of China-India relations.”

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Twenty Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers were killed in the clashes on June 15, which was the worst instance of violence between the two countries along the Line of Actual Control in over 40 years.

The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said India and China had agreed to resolve all outstanding problems in an expeditious manner, and in tune with the existing protocols. The fourth meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs, since tensions first broke out on the border in May, was held on the same day. India’s Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, on the other hand, said that the military option is on the table if talks between New Delhi and Beijing to deescalate the tension along the border failed.