BEIJING – India and Pakistan are friendly neighbours of China, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said as he hoped that the two countries can properly manage and control differences and improve their strained ties.
Briefing China’s official media on the outcome of President Xi Jinping’s visit to India last week for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Wang spoke about the Modi-Xi meeting amidst Indo-Pak tensions.
Ahead of the summit at the picturesque town of Mamallapuram near Chennai on October 11-12, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Beijing along with his army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and met President Xi and discussed the Kashmir issue.
Prior to his trip to India, Xi “listened to the views and propositions of the Pakistani side in his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Khan,” Wang said in his briefing on Tuesday, without referring the Kashmir issue.
This is the first time a top Chinese official spoke about the October 9 meeting between Xi and Khan, which sparked concerns in India.
“In Chennai, Xi said all sides should work together to promote regional peace and stability, and achieve common development and prosperity,” Wang said without elaborating.
He carefully avoided any references to the Kashmir issue as well as India’s move to revoke the special status to Jammu and Kashmir following which Pakistan launched an international campaign against New Delhi.
“The recent strained India-Pakistan relations and unrest in the region have drawn grave concerns from the international community,” Wang said.
He said both India and Pakistan are friendly neighbours of China, and the Chinese side “hopes that the two countries can properly manage and control differences and improve their ties,” state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Wang as saying.
After the Modi-Xi meeting, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said Kashmir issue was neither raised nor discussed. “Since Pakistan Prime Minister had recently visited China hence President Xi told Prime Minister about it and Prime Minister listened to the same,” Gokhale said in his briefing on October 12.
In his meeting with Khan, Xi was quoted as saying China is paying “close attention” to the situation in Kashmir and hoped that the “relevant parties” can solve the issue through peaceful dialogue.
Significantly, Wang was quoted as saying that “China is willing to develop and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with all South Asian countries.”
He said China’s “respective relations with India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries could run in parallel and develop together, neither targeting any third party nor being influenced by a third party”.
Wang said President Xi’s visits to India and Nepal has injected new impetus into China’s relations with the two countries, built new platform for good-neighbourliness in South Asia, and opened up new prospects for regional practical cooperation.
China and India should be good neighbours who live in harmony and work together as good partners, Wang quoted Xi as telling Modi.