New Delhi: A report in Chinaâs state-run Global Times has revealed Beijingâs plans to interfere in Kashmir because of its nearly $50 billion investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The report, which eggs on the Chinese leadership to âplay a greater role in resolving conflictsâ in South and Southeast Asia, says Beijing canât âturn a deaf ear to the demands of Chinese enterprises in protecting their overseas investments.â
[quote]âGiven the massive investment that China has made in countries along the One Belt, One Road, China now has a vested interest in helping resolve regional conflicts including the dispute over Kashmir between India and Pakistan,â the report said.[/quote]
It cites the ârecent mediation between Myanmar and Bangladesh over Rohingya issueâ as proof of Chinaâs âincreased abilityâ in resolving conflicts âbeyond its bordersâ.
China has strong ties with both Myanmar and Bangladesh, helping in infrastructure development in both countries. Relations with the former have warmed further since Myanmar President Htin Kyaw struck a deal in China on an oil pipeline between the neighbours after almost a decade of talks.
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âOne Belt, One Roadâ is Chinaâs grandiose plan for land and sea routes connecting the world's second largest economy with the rest of Asia and beyond. Representing investments of hundreds of billions of dollars, it is a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
This is perhaps the first time that Chinese official media started floating Beijing's interest in playing a mediatory role to resolve the Kashmir issue.
[blurb]China's official stand is that the Kashmir issue left over from history should be resolved between India and Pakistan though Beijing has been stepping up its investments in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).[/blurb]
While China in the past has played down reports of the presence of its troops in PoK, saying that they were there to deliver humanitarian assistance, its $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through the disputed Gilgit and Baltistan region increased its involvement in the disputed areas.
[blurb]India has protested to China over the CPEC and is yet to name an official delegation to take part in a summit of the Belt and Road initiative, of which CPEC is a part. The summit is to be held from May 14-15.[/blurb]
Chinese official media also referred to last month's participation of Chinese troops for the first time in the Pakistan Day parade as a sign of Chinese military playing a role in regional stability.