Position on Kashmir not affected by CPEC: China

Indo Asian News Service

Beijing, March 18 (IANS) The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said that the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will not affect Beijing's stance on the Kashmir issue.

Answering a question regarding India's objection to Pakistan's plan to declare Gilgit-Baltistan, the region north of the Line of Control in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir, its fifth province, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chun­ying said China's position on the Kashmir issue was "consistent" and "clear-cut".

"As a leftover issue from history between India and Pakistan, it needs to be properly settled through dialogue and consultation between the two sides. The development of the CPEC does not affect China's position on the Kashmir issue," she said at a press briefing on Friday.

The CPEC passes through the region and it is strategically crucial for India as it connects China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia.

Asked whether Pakistan and China discussed cooperation on the production of ballistic missiles, Hua said that Pakistan and China "maintain normal defence exchanges and cooperation in military industry and trade", the Chinese Foreign Ministry reported on its website.

"On the visit of Pakistani Chief of Army Staff to China, relevant readouts have already been released about his meetings with Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, Vice Chairman Fan Changlong of the Central Military Commission and Chief of the Joint Staff Department Fang Fenghui."

"I do not have any specific information regarding the question you raised. But I can tell you that China and Pakistan maintain normal defence exchanges and cooperation in military industry and trade," she said.

--IANS

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