Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today said China supports dialogue between Pakistan and India as the “most viable solution” to the Kashmir issue as he met his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang here. “On the Kashmir issue, China has always been supportive of Pakistan’s stance and has assured to continue extending the same cooperation in future as well,” Sharif told media here after his meeting with Li. Pakistan’s state-run APP news agency quoted Sharif as saying that both Pakistan and China favoured negotiations with India as the “most viable solution to the Kashmir dispute.” His comments followed recent clarification by China over India’s objections to the China-Pakistan Economic (CPEC) Corridor which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang had told PTI on May 3 that China’s position on the issue of Kashmir remains clear and consistent. “It is an issue left over from history between India and Pakistan, and shall be properly addressed by India and Pakistan through consultation and negotiation,” he said.
“The building of the CPEC does not affect China’s position on this issue,” he said. In his address to the United Services Institution in New Delhi on May 5, Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui had said China has taken care to India’s stand that it should be resolved bilaterally in line with the Shimla Agreement. “We supported the relevant UN resolutions before 1990s. Then we supported a settlement through bilateral negotiation in line with the Shimla Agreement. This is an example of China taking care of India’s concern,” Luo had said. For its part, Pakistan has been questioning India’s stance and calling for “multilateral approach” saying that the bilateral approach has failed. Sharif is in China to attend the two-day Belt and Road Forum starting from tomorrow.
In his interaction with the media, Sharif said the scope of CPEC had immensely increased with the Chinese investment swelling from USD 46 to USD 56 billion. He said such a huge investment was unprecedented in Pakistan’s history, having objectives of progress and prosperity of the people. He mentioned that Chinese companies were investing in Pakistan’s power and infrastructure sectors at a massive scale, which had generated exemplary employment opportunities for the local people.
Sharif said the economic activity as a result of heavy Chinese investment had resulted in a positive impact on the lives of the common people in Pakistan.
He said his visit to China was significant in relevance with the economic conditions of Pakistan, adding “Pakistan was proud of its friendship with China.” He said economic development in Balochistan province, where China is building Gwadar port, was getting good results and several projects under CPEC were being completed at a fast pace. The 3000-km CEPC connects Gwadar with China’s Xinjiang province.