China on Saturday reiterated its support to Pakistan on its dispute over Kashmir with India, saying it opposes any unilateral action which could complicate the situation in the Indian union territory at the center of the conflict between New Delhi and Islamabad.
The situation in Kashmir was among several issues, likely topped by the death of nine Chinese personnel in a bomb blast in Dasu in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan earlier this month, discussed at a meeting between Chinese state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi and Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held in Chengdu in southwest China on Saturday.
BONDING OVER KASHMIR
“The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the deteriorating situation in Jammu & Kashmir, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues,” a China-Pakistan joint statement issued after the meeting said.
The joint statement was first posted on the Pakistan foreign ministry website.
“The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan, which is an objective fact, and that the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions, and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation,” the statement said.
China and Pakistan had voiced their strong opposition after the state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in August 2019.
“Both sides underscored that a peaceful, stable, cooperative, and prosperous South Asia was in the common interest of all countries. Both sides agreed on the need to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” the statement said.
China also reiterated its “…firm support to Pakistan in safeguarding its territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence…”.
India had earlier rejected the reference to Kashmir by China and Pakistan, saying: “The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India and we expect the parties concerned not to interfere in matters that are internal affairs of India.”
REMAINS OF 9 CHINESE NATIONALS RETURN HOME
Qureshi and the head of Pakistan’s ISI chief, Faiz Hameed had rushed to China on Friday a week after the attack in Dasu.
Their visit has been linked to Islamabad’s efforts to assuage “iron brother” China that it will do more to protect Beijing’s wide-ranging interests, projects, and Chinese personnel in Pakistan.
Remains of the nine Chinese personnel killed in the attack were returned to China in a chartered flight on Friday, hours after the two top Pakistani officials landed here for talks.
“The Pakistan side conveyed its profound condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families, emphasised that the sacrifices of Chinese nationals would not be in vain and that China-Pakistan partnership would emerge stronger through this test,” the joint statement said.
Both sides, the statement said, expressed their firm resolve to expose the culprits and their reprehensible designs through the ongoing joint investigation, give exemplary punishment to the perpetrators and “…ensure comprehensive safety and security of the Chinese projects, nationals, and institutions, and prevent recurrence of such incidents”.
On the changing situation in Afghanistan, both sides said they were committed to facilitate and support “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace and reconciliation process for the “…early realisation of a peaceful, stable, united and prosperous Afghanistan, which would firmly combat terrorism and live in harmony with its neighbors”.