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Pakistan seeks China’s support on Kashmir & sovereignty amid strained ties with Saudi


NEW DELHI: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Friday and is understood to have discussed among other issues Kashmir and Afghanistan amid Islamabad’s growing rift with its traditional ally Riyadh.

China backed Pakistan on Kashmir, territorial integrity and development of covid-19 vaccine, according to the joint statement issued after the meeting.

The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation in Jammu & Kashmir, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues,” the statement added.

“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 added.

Pakistani, in response, thanked China for standing strong with Islamabad in safeguarding its national security and sovereignty.

In a joint statement issued Friday following the second round of China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue in Hainan Province, China, “Both sides agreed to further strengthen cooperation in developing a vaccine to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, and strive to promote establishment of China-Pakistan Community of Shared Future and Community of Common Health.”

Pakistan PM Imran Khan faced with growing opposition from within ruling party and voters rushed Qureshi to China after Army Chief Bajwa’s trip to Saudi Arabia failed to achieve desired results. The Army, however, has been upset over Khan’s handling of ties with Saudi Arabia.

Qureshi who met Wang on Friday amid ongoing Sino-Indian standoff along LAC has described his visit as “very important”. The visit interestingly comes ahead of proposed SCO Foreign Ministers and NSA meets in Moscow next month.

The Pakistan’s Foreign Minister’s visit was also aimed at preparations for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Islamabad next month which could be his maiden trip abroad since the outbreak of Covid.

“Querishi’s visit to China takes place against the backdrop of several adverse developments in Pakistan. These would include his outburst against the Saudi Arabia, the refusal of Crown Prince to meet army chief Bajwa, Saudi Arabia asking for repayment of loans and stopping oil supplies on deferred payments etc. China is Pakistan’s last hope for a bail out but for that Pakistan will have to make several concessions that would further erode it’s sovereignty,” Tilak Devasher, member of India’s National Security Advisory Board and author of four books on Pakistan told ET.

Ahead of the visit Khan in an TV interview underscored importance of Sino-Pak ties. “It should be clear that our future is connected with China… China also needs Pakistan very much,” he said.

Coinciding with the visit, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Pakistan’s mainstream political parties agreed to preserve, protect and promote China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The International Department of Communist Party of China, in collaboration with Pakistan-China Institute, organised the second conference of the CPEC Political Parties Joint Consultation Mechanism (JCM) on the theme of “Working Together to Promote Economic Development and Improve People’s Lives Through High-Quality CPEC Cooperation” on Thursday.

It was attended by nine political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), the Pakistan People’s Party, the Balochistan Awami Party, the National Party, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, the Awami National Party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, as well as leading officials from relevant government departments and representatives from business community of the two countries.

The first JCM was held in Beijing in March 2019 and this JCM has now emerged as the institutional mechanism between the CPC and Pakistani political parties for CPEC coordination and communication.

The conference was co-chaired from the Pakistani side by the Chairman Senate, Sadiq Sanjrani and from the Chinese side by Song Tao, Minister of the International Department of CPC who is a member of the Chinese Central leadership.

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