BEIJING: China has reaffirmed its continuing and firm support to Pakistan in the war against terrorism, as the two countries agreed that the solution to the Afghan conflict has to be fundamentally political and that there is no military solution to the issue.
Addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasised that China fully backs Pakistan in its fight against terrorism and supports its neighbour in safeguarding its sovereignty.
“The relationship between China and Pakistan remain rock firm and unbreakable,” Wang Yi said, adding that China will continue to play its role in Pakistan’s progress and development.
The Chinese official said the international community should recognise Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate terrorism.
“When it comes to the issue of counterterrorism, Pakistan has done its best with a clear conscience. In comparison, some countries need to give Pakistan the full credit that it deserves.”
Stressing the need to intensity trilateral cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, Wang Yi said his country stands ready to support the improvement of relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“We reaffirmed that only the advancement of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process is the viable way out to address the Afghan issue,” he said, adding that peace in Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan, China and the entire region.
PAKISTAN SUPPORTS ONE-CHINA POLICY:
In his address, Khawaja Asif thanked China for its unflinching support for Pakistan in the war against terrorism and its commitment to Pakistan’s progress and development.
He appreciated China’s “constructive role” in the process for a politically negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict, saying that Pakistan and China can together contribute to a political solution to the conflict.
Asif said Pakistan “strongly” adheres to one-China policy.
“We support China on its core issues of Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and South China Sea,” he said.
He said the relations between China and Pakistan are exemplary and are based on history, mutual trust, equality, harmony, non-interference and common agenda of socioeconomic development.
He said Operations Zarb-i-Azb and Raddul Fasaad against terrorist groups “including ETIM [East Turkestan Islamic Movement]”, which China blames for carrying out attacks in its far western region of Xinjiang, have yielded positive results.
“ETIM is not only a threat to China but also to Pakistan,” he said.
On US President Donald Trump’s new Afghan policy, Asif said there was no military solution to the conflict in Pakistan’s neighbouring country.
On China’s commitment to Pakistan’s development, Asif called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor a “flagship project” and vowed action against any threat to the project.
Khawaja Asif reached Beijing on Thursday on an official visit to hold discussions on bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest in terms of regional and international strategies. Top officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry welcomed the minister as he arrived at the airport accompanied by National Security Adviser Lt Gen (r) Nasser Janjua.
After his China visit, Asif will travel to Iran. He has also planned meetings with Russian and Turkish leaders.
Both Moscow and Beijing have criticised the US position on Pakistan and have insisted that Pakistan’s importance for peace in Afghanistan and its sacrifices in the fight against terrorism need to be recognised.
Trump had in his August 21 speech announced a new strategy for Afghanistan while denouncing Pakistan for allegedly allowing terrorists to maintain safe havens inside its territory.
He also seemed to want India to take on a bigger role in Afghanistan, stoking fears in Islamabad that India would use this opportunity for stirring trouble in the bordering areas of Pakistan.
Talking tough on Pakistan, Trump had said, “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations,” while warning that vital aid to Islamabad could be cut.
“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” Trump had said. “That will have to change and that will change immediately.”