Corridor through ‘Azad Kashmir’ no detriment to K-dispute: China

By K J M Varma

Beijing: Defending a proposed Economic Corridor through Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PAK), China on Thursday said the multi-billion dollar project will have “no detriment” to the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
The 2,000-km corridor connecting China’s Xinjiang region with Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan is aimed at improving the well-being of people and is “not directed against the third party and (will) have no detriment to the relevant parties’ position on this issue”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chuying said.
“We will press ahead with the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and construction of Gwadar Port as well as construction of industrial parks and other infrastructure construction,” she told a media briefing here.
“The Kashmir issue is one left over from history. Pakistan and India should resolve it through dialogue and consultations between the two countries,” she said.
China and Pakistan have reached “important consensus” on deepening cooperation in various fields, Hua said, elaborating on talks Wednesday between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his visiting Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain.
The proposed corridor was discussed by the two leaders.
Hua evaded a query on the route for the proposed corridor and said, “With regard to whether the economic corridor passes through the Kashmir area, as far as I have learnt, a joint commission for its construction has been established by the two sides.”
The commission’s second meeting in Beijing coincided with Hussain’s visit, his first foreign trip since he assumed office last year.
“This meeting had in-depth exchange of views on planning and construction of the corridor as well as cooperation in energy and technical field,” Hua said.
“I do not know if they talked about whether this corridor passes through this region but I can tell you we hope that the Kashmir issue can be resolved through consultations and negotiations between India and Pakistan.”
A joint statement issued after the talks between Xi and Hussain on Wednesday said China would continue to stand firmly behind Pakistan’s efforts to uphold its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. China also praised Pakistan’s fight against terrorism.
Besides Xi, Hussain held talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.—PTI

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