Udayavni Special

China, Pak FMs hold talks; Kashmir discussed

PTI, Jul 25, 2021, 10:19 AM IST

Beijing: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday vowed to further cement their all-weather strategic ties and discussed a range of issues, including the joint probe into the terrorist attack that killed nine Chinese engineers in Pakistan and the Kashmir issue.

A joint press release issued at the end of their talks said that both sides underscored that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia was in the common interest of all countries.

Qureshi, whose delegation included the ISI Director General, also raised the Kashmir issue during the talks with Wang held in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.

“Shared similar outlook for a peaceful, stable & prosperous South Asia & appreciate China’s unyielding support for Kashmir, reiterating dispute should be resolved through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions & bilateral agreements, opposing unilateral action,” Qureshi said in a tweet.

The joint statement said that 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 Pakistan side briefed the Chinese side on the deteriorating situation in Jammu & Kashmir, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues,” it said.

“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 joint statement released by Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.

India has asserted that Jammu and Kashmir ”was, is and shall forever” remain an integral part of the country.

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, the Ministry of External Affairs has said previously when China and Pakistan mentioned the Kashmir issue during their strategic dialogue in August last year.

Wang and Qureshi exchanged views on bilateral strategic, economic and security cooperation, COVID-19 pandemic, peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and international and regional issues of mutual interest, and reached a consensus to collectively take measures to safeguard their common interests and promote peace, prosperity, and development in the region, the statement said.

They also discussed the situation arising out of the recent bus blast in northwest Pakistan in which nine Chinese personnel were killed and 27 others were injured.

China had rushed a special team to Pakistan to probe the July 14 blast in a shuttle bus at Dasu area of Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where a Chinese company is building a 4320-MW dam on the Indus river.

The Dasu bus blast had accentuated Beijing’s concerns as thousands of Chinese personnel worked in the China-Pakistan installations and projects in the country.

The bodies of the nine Chinese personnel killed in the terrorist attack were brought to China in a chartered plane on Friday, according to a statement posted by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The joint statement said: “both sides vehemently condemned the terrorist attack in Dasu which caused loss of precious lives and injuries to the Pakistani and Chinese workers.”

“Both sides expressed their firm resolve to expose the culprits and their reprehensible designs through the ongoing joint investigation, give exemplary punishment to the perpetrators, ensure comprehensive safety and security of the Chinese projects, nationals and institutions, and prevent recurrence of such incidents,” it said.

They stressed that peace and stability in Afghanistan were vital for socio-economic development, connectivity and prosperity in the region and called on all Afghan stakeholders for a comprehensive ceasefire, and to work together in earnest to achieve broad-based and comprehensive, inclusive, negotiated political settlement, the statement said.

“The Pakistan side reiterated its commitment to the ‘One China Policy’ and firm support to China on core issues of its national interest, such as Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and the South China Sea,” it said.

Pakistan also supported China in rejecting WHO’s plan to probe the lab leak theory to find the origins of COVID-19.

“We hope that the WHO can, together with the international community, defend the scientific and serious study of origins of the SARS-CoV-2 and oppose the actions to politicise the issue, and safeguard the favourable atmosphere for global cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said, amid fresh pressure on China to be transparent on the origins of the deadly virus that was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019.

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