Li Says China-Pakistan Friendship Unbreakable, but Skips ‘K’ Word
References to Kashmir and tensions arising out of Uri terror attack were conspicuously absent in Chinese official media coverage of the meeting between China Premier Li Keqiang and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
As all-weather strategic partners of cooperation, China and Pakistan have always firmly supported each other and their friendship is unbreakable, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Li as saying while meeting Sharif on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session.
China stands ready to deepen all-round practical cooperation with Pakistan and is willing to make joint efforts with Islamabad in injecting new impetus into the development of bilateral relations, Li said.
While noting that practical cooperation focussing on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has made positive progress, Li urged the two sides to carry out the planned construction of the corridor, accelerate the building of the Gwadar Port as well as its supporting facility, and bring more companies into industrial parks, the report said.
China is willing to maintain close high-level contacts and continue to strengthen coordination with Pakistan on global and regional affairs, Li said.
However, contrary to reports in Pakistan media, there were no references to Kashmir situation or Uri attack in Xinhua’s story on Li-Sharif meeting.
A report in Pakistani daily Dawn had said, “Li had assured that China would continue to support Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir”.
The Dawn report quoted Li as telling Sharif that: “We support Pakistan and we will speak for Pakistan at every forum.”
China attached great importance to Pakistan’s position on Kashmir and said “Pakistan itself was a victim of terrorism”, it said.
The Chinese premier hoped that there would be better understanding of Pakistani position on Kashmir by the international community, the report had quoted Li as saying.
Sharif showed his satisfaction on the state of Pak-China relations and welcomed the statement of China on the ‘atrocities’ being committed in Kashmir, the report had said.
Li expressed the hope that the situation between India and Pakistan would not escalate.
He said China was ready to play a constructive role in improving the relations between Pakistan and India.
Xinhua quoted Sharif as telling Li that Pakistan and China are time-tested friends and partners who have firmly supported each other.
As their relations develop very smoothly, bilateral cooperation in a variety of fields has also entered a new phase. The Pakistani side cherishes friendship with China and is committed to promoting bilateral cooperation, Sharif was quoted as saying.