China Denies Plans To Mediate On Kashmir, Says It Is Bilateral Issue

NEW DELHI: China today denied reports of its official media that said it has plans of mediating between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue. China said its position that Kashmir is a bilateral matter stands and the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has not affected it.

“China’s position on the issue of Kashmir is clear and consistent… It shall be properly addressed by India and Pakistan through consultation and negotiation,” news agency Press Trust of India reported Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang as saying. “The building of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor does not affect China’s position,” he added in a written response to a question.

Yesterday, Global Times, a publication of China’s ruling Communist Party, reported that Beijing had an interest in playing a bigger role in the region due to its investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. It was perhaps the first time that the Chinese official media floated Beijing’s interest in playing a mediatory role to resolve the Kashmir issue.

China, Mr Shuang said, will play a “constructive role” for the improvement of relations between India and Pakistan.

Coming two days after Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan’s comments offering to mediate between Pakistan and India, the Global Times article sparked concerns about a shift in China’s stand on Kashmir.

China, which has been at the centre of a regional power shift, “now needs to learn how to act as a stabilising force and conflict mediator in the region,” the article read. “Given the massive investment that China has made in countries along the One Belt, One Road, China now has a vested interest in helping resolve regional conflicts including the dispute over Kashmir between India and Pakistan.”

It further added, “Mediating between India and Pakistan over Kashmir issue would perhaps be one of the toughest challenges facing China in dealing with regional affairs to safeguard its overseas interests”.

In past, China has played down reports of its troops’ presence in PoK, saying they were there to deliver humanitarian assistance. Last month, they participated in the Pakistan Day parade, signaling China’s intention for a role in regional stability.

The $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will link Gwadar in Balochistan to China’s Xinjiang. It runs through Gilgit and Baltistan, which is part of Jammu and Kashmir.

The CPEC project will link Gwadar in Balochistan to China’s Xinjiang via a vast network of highways and railways. India has protested to China over the CPEC and is yet to name an official delegation to take part in a summit of the Belt and Road initiative, of which CPEC is a part. The summit is scheduled to be held on May 14 and 15.

The article had also sought to justify Chinese intervention in bilateral disputes on the grounds of protecting heavy investments being made by Beijing under its Silk Road initiative, which is officially called the ‘One Belt and One Road’ project.

The article had said China cannot turn a “deaf ear” to protect heavy investments by its firms in the CPEC and the Silk Road projects by continuing with its policy of non-interference.

“Given the massive investment that China has made in countries along the One Belt, One Road, China now has a vested interest in helping resolve regional conflicts including the dispute over Kashmir between India and Pakistan,” it had said.

 

 

 

 

Source:- NDTV

The post China Denies Plans To Mediate On Kashmir, Says It Is Bilateral Issue appeared first on Indian Defence Update.



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