Xi Says Watching J&K Issue, to Back Pak on Core Interests: Report
President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, 9 October, assured Prime Minister Imran Khan that the friendship between China and Pakistan is "unbreakable and rock-solid" despite changes in the international and regional situation.
At a meeting with PM Khan, Xi also reportedly said that he was watching the Kashmir issue closely and would back Pakistan "in issues related to its core interests".
China-Pak Friendship 'Rock-Solid'
Xi made the remarks when he met Khan at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, two days before he leaves for India to hold the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PTI reported.
Noting that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners, Xi said, "No matter how the international and regional situation changes, the friendship between China and Pakistan has always been unbreakable and rock-solid, and China-Pakistan cooperation has always maintained strong vitality."
Khan's visit to China, third since he took over as Prime Minister in August last year, acquires significance as it comes ahead of President Xi's high-profile visit to India for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Modi at Mamallapuram near Chennai on 11 and 12 October, reported PTI.
China to Support Pak In Issues
Khan's visit to Beijing comes at a time when tensions have spiked between Pakistan and India after New Delhi ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August.
Beijing, the all-weather ally of Islamabad, has backed Pakistan over the Kashmir issue, with its Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his address to the UN General Assembly saying, "no actions that would unilaterally change the status quo should be taken".
On Wednesday, Xi reportedly said that he was watching the situation in Kashmir and added that China would "support Pakistan in issues related to its core interests", Reuters reported, quoting the official Xinhua News Agency.
However, he added that the two countries should resolve the dispute through peaceful dialogue.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Tuesday had also said the Kashmir issue should be resolved between New Delhi and Islamabad, significantly omitting its recent references to the UN and UN Security Council resolutions, according to PTI.
Geng's comments marked a significant shift on what China has been saying on Kashmir in recent weeks in the aftermath of India's move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution.