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China offers to play a role in easing Indo-Pak ties

China has offered for the first time to play a constructive role in the peace process in S Asia if both New Delhi and Islamabad so desired.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2004 13:38 IST

Welcoming the easing of tensions between India and Pakistan, China on Saturday offered for the first time to play a "constructive role" in the peace process in South Asia if both New Delhi and Islamabad desired so.

"China will be glad to play a constructive role in improving relations between India and Pakistan if the two countries would like so," Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing said.

"China is very pleased to see that Pakistan and India are trying every means to improve bilateral relations," Li told reporters here on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament.

While describing both India and Pakistan as "friendly neighbours" of China, Li said that the improvement of their relations demonstrated the "strategic visions" of Indian and Pakistani leaders and reflected common aspiration of the people of the two countries.

Answering a range of questions including China's foreign policy, North Korean nuclear issue, non-proliferation and counter-terrorism, Taiwan and Sino-US relations, Li, who assumed charge as China's top diplomat last March, said the 50th anniversary of the five principles of peaceful co-existence (Panchsheel) would be celebrated in June.

In the area of peace, China, India, Myanmar and other Asian countries put forward the five-principle of peaceful co-existence in their bids to promote peace in 1950s, which Li described as an "outstanding contribution" by Asian countries and Asian culture to the development of international relations in the right direction.

First Published: Mar 08, 2004 13:38 IST