Come what may, we stand with Pak, says China as Islamabad raises Kashmir in top talks

Deepika S

Beijing, Mar 19: China backed its "all-weather friend" Pakistan on Tuesday, hailing its recent counter-terrorism measures at the first strategic dialogue between the foreign ministers of both the countries.

The meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi came days after Beijing foiled for the fourth time the efforts to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council.

"We also discussed the situation emerging out of the Pulwama incident," Qureshi said during a joint press conference where both sides took two selective questions.

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"As Wang was suggesting both sides have to show restraint. I think the world has noted that Pakistan did exercise restraint and responsibility," Qureshi said.

He also said Pakistan is always ready for an engagement to "resolve all our outstanding issues."

"We did discuss the impact this (Pulwama) incident had on Pakistan-India relations and the impact this could have risen to different level of escalation and impact it could have had on the peace and stability of the region," he said.

"I briefed Wang about steps Pakistan had taken to safeguard our territorial integrity and the steps we had taken to de-escalate (tensions with India). Pakistan appreciates the role China had played once again in standing by Pakistan in these difficult times," he said.

Qureshi also raked up the Kashmir issue at the press conference saying that he also briefed Wang "on the rapidly deteriorating situation" in Kashmir.

He said the reaction at times creates tension in the region and it must be avoided.

In his comments, Wang said China and Pakistan have agreed to step up counter terrorism cooperation.

"We call on the international community to adopt a fair perspective of the commitments made by Pakistan to combat terrorism over the years. We think a peaceful and stable South Asia is in the common interest of the regional countries and meets the expectations of the world and China," he said.

"No matter how things change in the world and the region, China will firmly support Pakistan in upholding its independence and territorial integrity and dignity...," Wang said heaping praise on Pakistan's counter terrorism efforts.

"The purpose and principles of the UN charter and international norms must be observed in earnest," he added.

Pakistan is facing intense international pressure to rein in the terror groups operating from its soil in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack by a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber on February 14 that killed 40 CRPF soldiers. JeM is one of the terror groups operating from Pakistan.

OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)

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