The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) does not alter China’s long-standing Kashmir policy that the issue should be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan, foreign ministry said on Wednesday, as it pushed for the early completion of the 46 billion dollar project that traverses through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
CPEC reached a phase of implementation in “all round way,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing, adding that Beijing would like to work with Pakistan to strive for “more progress and deliver tangible benefits” to the two sides at an early date.
A sound mechanism has been put in place by both the countries for the project to move ahead, she said.
Asked about objections raised by India over the CPEC as it passes through the disputed region of PoK, she said, “We are well aware of these concerns but as has been said before, this CPEC is a platform for long-term development.”
“It targets no third country and we strongly believe that this corridor will work for connectivity, regional peace and development,” she said.
“Our position on Kashmir issue is consistent. This issue is left-over from history between India and Pakistan. It needs to be resolved between India and Pakistan through consultation.
“Our position on the building of CPEC will not affect our stand on Kashmir issue,” she said reacting to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s comments that the project not only has economic value but also strategic importance with far reaching significance.
Chinese officials, media and strategic scholars have become vocal in last two weeks in airing Beijing’s determination to push ahead with the project as Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern over human rights violations in Balochistan and PoK during his Independence Day speech on August 15.
A Chinese scholar of an official think tank attached to the Chinese foreign ministry even warned that China may militarily get involved and take joint steps with Pakistan if “Indian factor” is found in disrupting the corridor.