Wang, Qureshi discuss Kashmir, progress on CPEC projects

The foreign ministers of China and Pakistan held their 2nd annual strategic dialogue on Friday during which they discussed ways to enhance their all-weather bilateral ties, the Kashmir issue, progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Afghan peace process.

Billed as “highly relevant” and “very important” by both the countries ahead of the meeting held in the southern Chinese island resort of Hainan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi discussed a host of bilateral, regional and international issues.

A joint statement issued at the end of the meeting said that “both sides underlined that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia was in common interest of all parties. Parties need to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect”.

“The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation in Jammu & Kashmir, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues”, it said.

“The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan, which is an objective fact, and that the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation”, the joint press release said.

Before leaving for Hainan, Qureshi told the media in Islamabad that “I am leaving on a very important visit to China. I had a discussion with the prime minister regarding this visit yesterday. My delegation will represent the stance of the political and military leadership of the country”.

The meeting took place amid reports of crisis in Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations which were regarded as the bedrock of Islamabad’s foreign policy for decades.

Qureshi left for Hainan after the return of Pakistan Army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa from Saudi Arabia, where he held talks with senior officials on the state of relations between Riyadh and Islamabad.

Pakistan Imran Khan said in an interview on Aug 19 that Pakistan’s future was linked to China as Beijing defended Pakistan in all difficult times. He said Chinese President Xi Jinping would visit Pakistan in the winter.