Pakistan a ‘good brother,’ says Xi Jinping, claims CPEC corridor will help forge closer ties
Web New Delhi has consistently opposed the CPEC as it passes through Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir; Beijing has paid little attention to New Delhi’s serious reservations about the CPEC and has pumped in money and resources in building infrastructure projects under the flagship economic corridor.Updated: Aug 21, 2020, 19:30 IST
China and Pakistan are “good brothers” and “good partners”, President Xi Jinping said on Friday adding that the economic corridor between the countries, which passes through territory claimed by India, holds great importance in forging closer ties between Beijing and Islamabad.
In a recorded message addressed to his Pakistani counterpart, Arif Alvi, Xi said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), “a landmark project” under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is of “great importance to promoting in-depth development of the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and forging a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future”.
New Delhi has consistently opposed the CPEC as it passes through Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir; Beijing has paid little attention to New Delhi’s serious reservations about the CPEC and has pumped in money and resources in building infrastructure projects under the flagship economic corridor.
The CPEC is among the new irritants and concerns for New Delhi in its ties with Beijing, which China has refused to address, arguing it is only an economic project.
Xi’s effusive message for Alvi was released at the end of the two-day 2nd China-Pakistan foreign ministers’ strategic dialogue held in the southern Chinese province of Hainan on Friday.
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi co-hosted the meet.
In his message to Alvi, Xi was effusive about ties between the two “iron brothers” – a phrase often repeated by both countries to describe the snug bilateral ties.
Xi said he appreciates that Alvi sent a congratulatory letter to the opening of the Second Conference of the CPEC Political Parties Joint Consultation Mechanism, which fully demonstrated that Alvi attaches great importance to and supports the China-Pakistan relationship and construction of the CPEC.
The consultation was held simultaneously with the foreign ministers’ dialogue.
The official news agency Xinhua released Xi’s statement.
“China and Pakistan are good brothers and partners who share special friendship,” Xi said.
He said the frequent meeting of political parties from both sides is conducive to steadily advancing the construction of the CPEC as well as high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
“Since the COVID-19 epidemic broke out, the global fight has fully demonstrated that mutual support, solidarity and cooperation present a sure way for humanity to defeat this novel coronavirus,” Xi said.
“China stands ready to work with Pakistan to build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future, jointly promote regional solidarity and cooperation, and safeguard the good momentum of peace and development in the region,” the Chinese President added.
Fu Xiaoqiang, an expert on South Asian issues at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told state media on Friday that India has a narrow approach to Sino-Pakistan friendship.
“India has adopted a hostile attitude toward the cooperation between China and Pakistan and believes that China and Pakistan will soon unite against India; it’s a rather ‘narrow-minded’ perspective that does not conform to India’s position of a big country in South Asia,” Fu told state media.
Wang and Qureshi met at a time when the ties of both Beijing and Islamabad with New Delhi are at an all-time low over the Sino-India border tension in eastern Ladakh, and (with Pakistan) on the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir and terrorism.
“This time the strategic dialogue is highly relevant and the two sides will take the opportunity to discuss ani-epidemic cooperation, bilateral ties and other regional and international issues of mutual interest,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian announced at the regular ministry briefing on Thursday.
The first China-Pakistan foreign ministers’ strategic dialogue was held in March, 2019.