BEIJING: Assistant Foreign Minister of China, Liu Jianchao said Monday that China strongly supports improvement in Pakistan-India relations, and that is ready to help resolve outstanding issues through dialogue between the two countries.
“We strongly support improvement in relations between Pakistan and India. We appreciate Pakistan's efforts for normalisation,” he said.
The comments from the Chinese foreign ministry follow a recent spike in tensions and deadly clashes along the disputed Kashmir border between Pakistan and India.
“We hope both sides put aside their differences and come to the negotiating table to resolve their outstanding issues,” said Liu.
Liu said the Chinese leadership was eager to receive Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his upcoming visit to China, during which the two countries would sign important agreements to further enhance bilateral cooperation.
“These agreements would further expand and deepen relations between China and Pakistan,” he told a delegation from Pakistan led by Parliamentary Secretary on Finance and Economic Affairs, Rana Muhammad Afzal.
“Whatever the situation evolves, we will remain committed to maintain strategic partnership with Pakistan,” he added.
Speaking of the postponement of the Chinese President’s recent expected visit to Pakistan, he said: “The President's visit was delayed to enable Pakistan concentrate on domestic affairs. We are hopeful that the visit of Chinese President would materialise on new dates,” he said.
He said that the Chinese president will soon visit Pakistan on agreed dates.
Liu also denounced a recent suicide attack and resulting loss of precious lives near the Wagah border in Lahore, and hoped that Pakistan would soon overcome the menace of terrorism.
Both China and Pakistan are facing the threat of terrorism and China has received great support from Pakistan in eliminating the terrorist elements on its soil, he said.
“We are thankful to Pakistan for their valued support against the ETIM. China will also support Pakistan's efforts against the scourge of terrorism,” he maintained.
‘Pakistan can play positive role in Afghan stability’
Commenting on the Afghan situation, he said that Afghanistan is an important neighbor of China and Pakistan and his government is closely monitoring the developments that have emerged after the recent elections there.
While welcoming the formation of national unity government in Afghanistan, he said: “We also recently hosted newly elected Afghan President and during his stay the two sides exchanged views to bring peace and normalcy in Afghanistan.”
He said that China supported the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has a special influence in Afghanistan and therefore we look forward to a positive role of Pakistan for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan is in interest of all countries and we will strengthen cooperation to push for peace and stability in the country,” he said.
Emphasising the importance of the Pak-China Economic Corridor, the Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister said that the corridor would greatly help boost regional development.
He said that the corridor aimed at better connectivity between the neighbours and Pakistan may take advantage of the leverage to Chinese policies.