PM Imran meets Chinese foreign minister in Islamabad

By ​Our Correspondent -September 08, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Luo Zhaohui called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.

Wang Yi and the Chinese delegation’s meeting with PM Imran came a day after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi hosted his Chinese and Afghan counterparts in the federal capital to discuss the Afghan peace efforts, counterterrorism cooperation, and other issues.

The premier’s meeting with the top Chinese officials also comes just hours after US President Donald Trump said he had called off a secret summit with the Taliban and Afghanistan’s leader, abruptly slamming the door on a year of diplomacy to end America’s longest war.

Saturday’s trilateral dialogue in Islamabad saw Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China agree that there was a need for a “comprehensive” peace deal through “an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” reconciliation process, as three sides condemned the recent surge in Taliban-backed terrorist attacks in the war-ravaged country.

In a joint statement issued after the trilateral meeting, there was an emphasis on intra-Afghan dialogue, including direct negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban, something the Ghani administration had been demanding for many months.

The joint statement appears to suggest that Pakistan and China endorsed the Afghan government’s perspective. Even more significant was the unanimous condemnation by all three sides of the recent spate of Taliban attacks in Kabul, Kunduz, Baghlam and Farah.

Earlier on Saturday, the Pakistani and Chinese foreign ministers held delegation-level talks to review bilateral ties and other issues. The two delegations had an in-depth exchange of views on the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and regional matters, particularly the current situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

FM Qureshi briefed the Chinese side on the evolving situation in IOK following India’s unilateral and illegal actions of August 5.

He stressed that the ongoing curfew for over four weeks, continued lock-down and communications blockade and the massive human rights violations had created a dire humanitarian situation in IOJ&K which needed to be urgently addressed.

FM Qureshi underscored that the curfew and other restrictions needed to be lifted immediately. He informed the Chinese side about the increase in ceasefire violations across the Line of Control (LoC) and emphasised that India could attempt a false-flag operation in order to divert attention from its crimes in IOK.

He conveyed that Pakistan was grateful for China’s support in the aftermath of India’s illegal and unilateral actions.

State Councilor Wang Yi reaffirmed China’s support and reiterated opposition to any unilateral action as well as the measures that could further complicate the situation.

Wang highlighted that the Pakistan-China relationship was based on mutual respect, trust and strong bonds of friendship. He appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to achieve goals of national development and extended China’s utmost support in this regard.

Wang emphasised that CPEC was a demonstration of high-quality BRI projects and was being implemented jointly by Pakistan and China. “Both countries have complete consensus on the future direction of CPEC to advance high-quality development in Pakistan,” he said.

He underscored that Pakistan’s economic and financial situation was improving and the central banks of both countries must deepen their cooperation to reap dividends at a larger level.

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