Days before the new Chinese premier's visit to India, China is playing down recent border tensions with its neighbor.

Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao said Thursday that disagreements along the disputed Himalayan frontier can be handled under existing mechanisms and should not affect overall relations. Song made no direct mention of a recent three-week standoff between border troops from the two sides that had threatened to overshadow Li's visit.

Li is going to India on Sunday in his first overseas trip since becoming premier.

The sides negotiated a peaceful conclusion to the standoff, although India's foreign minister last week said the two needed to work harder to avoid border flare-ups and resolve those that do happen more quickly.

India and China have had chilly relations since fighting a brief but bloody border war in 1962.