For the second time in less than a week, China today snubbed Pakistan by declining to back reports in Pakistani media claiming Beijing’s support for the country in the event of any aggression and backing it on the Kashmir issue.
As a “neighbour and friend”, China once again appealed to India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue to “properly” resolve disputes, including the Kashmir issue which it said was “left over from history”, and jointly work towards regional peace and stability.
Asked about reported remarks by Pakistan Consul General in Lahore Yu Boren that China will support Pakistan against any foreign aggression and backs Islamabad on the Kashmir issue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told media briefing here he was not aware of any such remarks made by the envoy.
“I am not aware of the situation you mentioned. But China’s position on the relevant issue is consistent and clear,” he said.
“As the neighbour and friend to both Pakistan and India, we hope the two countries will properly address their differences through dialogue and consultation, manage and control the situation and jointly work for the peace and stability of South Asia and the growth of the region.
“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,” he said.
He was replying to a question about remarks attributed to Yu made during his meeting with Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province Shahbaz Sharif.
“In case of any (foreign) aggression our country will extend its full support to Pakistan,” Consul General of China in Lahore Yu was quoted as saying in a press release by the Punjab Chief Minister’s Office, according to a report by Pakistani daily Dawn.
“We are and will be siding with Pakistan on the 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,” the report had quoted Yu as saying.
China’s reaction today is the second time since September 22 that it distanced itself from the Pakistani media attributing Beijing’s support to Pakistan on Kashmir issue.
China has declined to confirm Beijing’s backing to Islamabad on the issue during the meeting between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The two leaders “exchanged views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang had told PTI here when asked about reports that Li extended support to Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir.
A report in Dawn said Li had assured Sharif that China would continue to support Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir. It had quoted Li telling Sharif that “we support Pakistan and we will speak for Pakistan at every forum.”