Pakistan and China have a tradition of “mutual support to each other in the face of common challenges”, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said against the backdrop of the India-China border standoff.
Qureshi made the remarks during a phone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Friday, during which they discussed bilateral and regional issues. Qureshi also contended that India’s “belligerent posture and expansionist policies were imperilling peace in the region”, according to a statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Office.
The conversation was held amid the months-old standoff between Indian and Chinese border troops. China has deployed additional troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) even as three rounds of talks between Indian and Chinese military commanders has not resulted in substantial efforts to de-escalate the situation.
During the phone conversation, Qureshi said Pakistan and China are “all-weather strategic cooperative partners” and had preserved a “tradition of expressing solidarity, mutual assistance and mutual support to each other in the face of common challenges”.
Without referring to the border standoff with India, Qureshi also said Pakistan is committed to the “One-China policy” and firmly supports China on its “core interests including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang”.
He added that disputes in the region should be resolved through peaceful means and agreed mechanisms rather than “resorting to unilateral, illegal and coercive measures” that he claimed were reflected by India’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August last year.
Qureshi contended that the regional security situation was deteriorating and “underlined that India’s belligerent posture and expansionist policies were imperilling peace in the region”. “Apart from committing egregious violations of human rights in [Jammu and Kashmir], India was seeking to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory,” he said.
He also briefed Wang on what he described as “repeated violations” by India along the Line of Control (LoC) and said Pakistan was exercising restraint.
Wang briefed Qureshi on the regional situation and lauded Pakistan’s efforts to promote peace and stability. Wang also thanked Pakistan for the support it has extended to China during “difficult and challenging times”.
Both sides said they would support each other at multilateral institutions. The two foreign ministers also said they would promote peace and development in Afghanistan. They hoped the next meeting of the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan foreign ministers dialogue will take place at the earliest.
Both sides also said they would take steps for the earliest possible economic recovery in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Qureshi said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will become the hub of trade and economic activity and sustainable development. Pakistan and China are taking steps to help the timely completion of CPEC projects, he added.
Wang said CPEC is a flagship project of BRI and its second phase will complement Pakistan’s efforts aimed at job creation, enhancing agricultural productivity, reducing poverty and massive economic recovery. He thanked Pakistan for supporting China’s idea of a “Health Silk Road” to address the region’s social and economic needs.
Both sides said they would implement consensus reached by the leadership of the two countries to deepen strategic consultation and coordination to promote shared goals of peace and stability. The ministers also decided to have a face-to-face meeting soon to discuss challenges facing the region.