China denied on Monday any knowledge of a senior diplomat assuring Pakistan that Beijing will back the country in case of a war with India.
Last week, the consul general of China in Lahore, Yu Boren, was quoted as saying that China will extend support to Pakistan in case of “foreign aggression” and that his country was on Islamabad’s side in the Kashmir dispute .
When asked about Yu’s categorical statement, the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) brushed it aside.
“I am not aware of the situation you mentioned,” MFA spokesperson Geng Shuang said at the regular presser on Monday. The newly appointed spokesperson then repeated China’s stock answers.
“China’s position on the relevant issue is consistent and clear. As neighbour and friend to both Pakistan and India we hope the two countries will properly address their differences through dialogue and manage and control the situation besides jointly work for the peace and stability of South Asia and the growth of the region,” Geng said.
On the Kashmir issue, he said: “With regard to the Kashmir issue, we believe it is an issue left over from history. We hope the relevant parties will peacefully and properly resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation.”
Yu was quoted as saying by the office of the chief minister of Punjab province of Pakistan that in case of any [foreign] aggression, Beijing “will extend its full support to Pakistan”.
It further quoted Yu as saying: “We are and will be siding with Pakistan on Kashmir issue... There is no justification for atrocities on unarmed Kashmiris in...[India-] held Kashmir and the Kashmir dispute should be solved in accordance with aspirations of the Kashmiris.”
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported the statement, linking it with the “…rising tensions at borders with India, China has assured in unequivocal terms its support in case of any foreign aggression and also supported Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir dispute”.
The statement was quoted widely in the Pakistani media and seen to be the latest and unequivocal evidence of China’s strong support of Pakistan. India has said terrorists from Pakistan were behind the Uri army camp attack earlier this month that left 18 soldiers dead.
At Monday’s briefing, Geng also commented on the recent allegations of incursions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), saying that Chinese personnel had abided by bilateral agreements on the border.
“China’s position on the boundary question between India and China is consistent and clear. The boundary between the two sides is yet to be demarcated. We are engaged in dialogue and consultation to properly address differences in this regard,” he said.
“The border troops of China always abide by agreements of the two sides and strictly follow the bilateral agreements concerning the LAC. We hope Indian side will work together with us to maintain peace and tranquillity in border areas and strive to resolve the boundary issue at an early date.”