BEIJING: The Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday, responding to a statement by its ambassador in India Luo Zhaohui—who recently said Beijing is prepared to rename the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to address India’s concerns—neither endorsed nor denied Luo’s statement.
Times of India reported that the Chinese foreign ministry was encouraging Luo to negotiate with New Delhi over the issue, while ensuring that it did not upset Islamabad either.
Last week, the ambassador had said during a speech in Delhi that China “can change the name of CPEC” and “create an alternative corridor through Jammu & Kashmir, Nathu La pass or Nepal to deal with India’s concerns”.
The fact that Luo publicly discussed the possibility of renaming CPEC twice indicates that he was acting on instructions from Beijing and not expressing his personal views, the paper quoted observers as saying.
The foreign ministry said on Thursday: “CPEC is an economic cooperation Initiative that has nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes, and does not affect China’s and Pakistan’s position on the Kashmir issue.”
At the same time, India’s refusal to join OBOR is one of the major hindrances in OBOR’s growth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made this clear when India became the first major country not to attend the OBOR forum in Beijing in May, whereas most western countries including the United States had sent official delegations.
“China is ready to strengthen connectivity with all neighbouring countries and promote regional economic cooperation and common prosperity,” according to a translation of the ministry’s statement which was released in Chinese.
“CPEC is a framework for cooperation focusing on the long-term development of cooperation in all fields. It is in the interest of both China and Pakistan. It is also conducive to promoting regional stability and development,” it said.