China on Thursday said it won't meddle in the Kashmir row between India and Pakistan, calling it a bilateral dispute, days after a commentary in a daily indicated that Beijing is ready to resolve the issue because of its "vested interest".
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Beijing will not change its position on Jammu and Kashmir because of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which cuts through the disputed territory between India and Pakistan.
Chinese Foreign Ministry statementChina’s position on the issue of Kashmir is clear and consistent. It is an issue left over from history between India and Pakistan and shall be properly addressed by India and Pakistan through consultation and negotiation.
India has been opposed to third party mediation in the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir.
Chinese Foreign MinistryThe building of the CPEC does not affect China’s position on this issue. We sincerely hope that India and Pakistan will properly handle differences by increasing communication and dialogue, and jointly uphold regional peace and stability.
On Tuesday, a commentary in the Global Times daily said China was ready to resolve the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan because it wanted to protect the multi-billion dollar CPEC.
Gobal Times commentary Given 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.
The 46 billion dollar CPEC project, a key component of Beijing's ambitious Belt and Road project, connects China's Kashgar in Xinjiang with Pakistan's Gwadar port in Balochistan – restive regions in both countries.
India has opposed the route, saying it passes through Pakistani Kashmir, which it claims as its own.
Meanwhile, the state-run Chinese Global Times, in another report on Wednesday, said that India should seek to build "joint strength" across South Asia, rather than fanning scepticism towards China. It criticised India for being "overly nervous" about Beijing's economic initiatives.
Responding to an Indian media report that China may put South Asia on the road to a debt trap, an article in the state-run Global Times said:
There’s nothing good about being overly nervous, a motto highly recommended for India, which seems to have gone too far in its conspiracy theorising.
It said that some Indian media are going to the extreme of smearing China as "a snake in the grass".
The Chinese daily’s report responded to the apparent criticism in the Indian media over the China’s One Belt and One Road initiative, and over China burdening countries like Pakistan and Sri Lanka with heavy loans.
The daily also refuted criticism that CPEC is "a strategic Chinese blueprint for China's colonial control of Pakistan in perpetuity, strategically and economically." "All of this essentially points to India's tight nerves about its giant neighbour. In fairness, it makes sense for India to stay awake and alert," it said.
"Nevertheless, defamation and conspiracy theories won't be of any help in this regard, and instead they only belittle India itself," it said
"Rather than fanning scepticism towards China, India should seek to build joint strength across the region," it said.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)