China says bilateral relationship with India independent of ties with Pakistan
China on Thursday indicated that its bilateral ties with India should be treated as independent of its relationship with Pakistan, reiterating foreign minister Wang Yi’s recent statement that Beijing’s bilateral links with South Asian countries could run parallel to each other without being influenced by a third party.
Interacting with Chinese media last Sunday in Kathmandu at the end of President Xi Jinping’s India and Nepal tours, Wang said: “…China’s respective relations with India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries could run in parallel and develop together, neither targeting any third party nor being influenced by a third party”.
HT had asked the Chinese foreign to elaborate on Wang’s statement.
“As a common neighbour and friend of India and Pakistan, China sincerely hopes that China-India relations will be good, China-Pakistan relations will be good, and India-Pakistan relations will be good, and everyone will work together to promote regional stability and development,” the ministry said in a written response.
“China attaches great importance to developing relations with South Asian countries and is committed to carrying out friendly cooperation with all south Asian countries on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence, sharing development opportunities and achieving common prosperity,” the statement added.
The ministry reiterated that China is willing to play a “constructive role” in resolving the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
“It is hoped that India and Pakistan will live in harmony, resolve disputes between the two countries through peaceful means, replace confrontation with dialogue, resolve differences in good faith and create a future through cooperation. China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in this regard,” the statement added.
To be sure, it will not be easy to de-hyphenate Sino-India ties from Beijing’s close strategic and economic ties with Islamabad.
The close relationship was also on display days before Xi’s informal summit with Prime Minister, Narendra Modi when Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Beijing and met the top Chinese leadership.
During his interaction with the Chinese media, Wang said that the recent strained India-Pakistan relations and unrest in the region had drawn grave concerns from the international community.
He said both India and Pakistan are friendly neighbours of China, and the Chinese side hopes that the two countries can properly manage and control differences and improve their ties.
Wang did not mention how Beijing helped Islamabad in internationalising the Kashmir issue at the UN recently.
On the Modi-Xi informal summit in Mamallapuram, where the Kashmir issue was not discussed, Wang said the two leaders have charted out targets and directions for strengthening practical cooperation between China and India.
The two leaders also agreed to expand “China-India Plus” cooperation, push forward facilitation of regional interconnectivity, and work with other related parties to strike the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement involving 16 countries as early as possible, Wang said.