China on Friday said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an "open initiative" of its One Belt One Road project, but it would consider the possibility of other countries joining CPEC through consensus with the Pakistani side.
Asked what China makes of the offer made by Lt Gen Aamir Riaz, commander, Southern Command, to India to join the project, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said it is yet to be seen whether India will take it up.
"I wonder whether the Indian side takes this offer made by the Pakistani general as a goodwill gesture," she told a daily press briefing.
She expressed hope that CPEC will not only promote socio-economic development in Pakistan and China but "also contribute to regional connectivity, peace, stability and prosperity".
She added, however, that China would discuss the possibility of introducing a third party to CPEC "on the basis of consensus with the Pakistani side through consultation".
China regards CPEC as a framework built by the two countries with a focus on the long-term development of bilateral cooperation in various fields, she said.
The Chinese foreign ministry's comments came on the same day an article in the Chinese state-run Global Times called on India to "consider accepting the olive branch Pakistan has extended" to join CPEC.
"China is likely to adopt an open attitude toward India joining the CPEC and would be happy to see more friendly interactions between the two South Asian neighbors. The CPEC has long been seen as a flagship project in China's Belt and Road initiative and India's involvement would be conducive in pushing forward the initiative," the paper said.
Gen Riaz on Tuesday advised India to share the fruits of future development by joining the CPEC project instead of employing subversive activities against Pakistan.
He said India, like Iran, Afghanistan, China and Central Asian states, should enjoy the benefits of CPEC.