The defense ministers of India and the Chinese Communist Party met on Friday, Sept. 4, in Moscow to try and reduce tensions along the more than 2,100 miles of border that divide them in the eastern region of Ladakh. In June, a confrontation between the two sides left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

According to The Associated Press, while there have been telephone contacts between the foreign ministers and other officials of the two countries since the conflict broke out in May, Friday’s meeting between Gen. Wei Fenghe of China and Rajnath Singh of India was the first personal contact. 

As stated by Singh in a statement after the meeting, “The current situation should be handled responsibly and neither side should take any further action that could either complicate the situation or escalate matters in the border areas.”

In the communiqué he also added that the accumulation of excessive Chinese troops, their aggressive behavior, and the constant attempts to unilaterally alter the state of affairs by generating troop movements on the border violate existing bilateral agreements.

Continuing, Singh added that peace and security in the region require a climate of confidence, nonaggression and peaceful resolution of any type of difference and above all respect for established international rules and agreed upon agreements.

While Singh’s words seemed to seek peaceful solutions to the problems, the Chinese defense minister dissociated himself from the conflict and asked Singh to ease the tension on the Himalayan border, while blaming India for the tensions of recent months, reported South China Morning Post.

“The cause and truth of the current tension on the border are very clear, with the responsibility lying entirely with India,” Wei said in the report. He went on to warn, “China cannot lose one inch of its territory. The Chinese military is fully determined, capable, and confident of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

In May there was an armed confrontation in the conflict zone between the neighboring countries, resulting in 20 Indian soldiers killed.

Sources from the Indian Department of Security and Defense informed The Print in August that the additional accumulation of troops and armaments in the area by the Chinese, especially with large numbers of troops in the area of Aksai Chin, is what makes the Indian army cautious about the withdrawal process that was originally planned.

Indian satellite images showed a large concentration of Chinese troops, weapons stockpiles, and the creation of possible tunnels to accumulate equipment in the Tibet Autonomous Region, according to the Express in August. Fears of an armed conflict between India and China alarm the international community.

Against this backdrop of tensions, U.S. President Donald Trump told a press conference yesterday that the United States was ready to help resolve the dispute between India and China, adding that the situation was “very unpleasant” and that the Chinese Communist Party was seeking to intimidate India.