BEIJING: The Chinese foreign ministry had no words of sympathy or concern for Pakistan after the air strikes. This is a major cause of disappointment for Pakistan though it is unlikely to show it.
China responds to a show of strength with respect, two western diplomats said. The pragmatic Chinese are also capable of changing their stance if it serves their purpose, they added. Beijing is now expected to tell Islamabad not to expect any support in its conflict with India, and that its backing would be limited to areas like economic development, one of the diplomats said.
China is keen on Indian participation in the second Belt and Road Forum in April at a time when the ambitious project has been hit by rejections in some countries. India was the only major country to boycott the first meeting of the forum last year although 130 countries, including the US, sent their representatives.
Indian presence can give respectability to the programme, which has only the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as a showcase project. A section of the Belt and Road passes through POK, which is an important reason why India refused to attend the forum in 2018.