–FM Qureshi meets Chinese counterpart in Beijing
–Both sides discuss bilateral issues, Afghan peace process
–Political reconciliation only way to resolve Afghan issue, says China
BEIJING: Pakistan and China on Tuesday agreed to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process to promote regional stability and to bring enduring peace to Afghanistan.
This was decided in a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart and State Councilor Wang Yi in Beijing.
During the meeting, FM Qureshi reiterated that the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China is deeply rooted in mutual trust and respect. While discussing the evolving political dynamics in Afghanistan, the two sides underscored commonality of views on the matter. Qureshi underscored that as neighbouring countries and friends of Afghanistan, Pakistan and China strongly support Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
He also appreciated China’s important role in furtherance of peace and development in Afghanistan, particularly through China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral mechanism. Expressing satisfaction at the strong bilateral partnership, FM Qureshi highlighted that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has added an important dimension to bilateral ties. He noted the important progress made on CPEC during the eighth meeting of Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) held in Beijing on December 20.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi appreciated Pakistan for its efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. He said that China attaches paramount importance to its relations with Pakistan and underlined that time-tested partnership between two countries is based on mutual respect, trust and strong bonds of friendship. Both leaders agreed that the highly successful visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan set the tone for further expanding the time-tested friendship between Pakistan and China. Both leaders noted with satisfaction bilateral cooperation at multilateral fora and emphasised the need to further deepen communication and coordination at all levels.
Speaking to APP after the meeting, Qureshi said, “I have so far visited Afghanistan, Iran and China during my regional outreach. All these countries have endorsed our efforts for the resolution of Afghan issue.” The minister said that he held an important meeting with the Chinese foreign minister and discussed the Afghan reconciliation process, progress on the recently held eighth meeting of the JCC of CPEC, Belt and Road Forum (BRF) scheduled to be held in April in Beijing, forthcoming Pakistan-China Foreign Ministers Strategic Dialogue, Pakistan’s exports to China and balance of support. Qureshi said there was smooth progress on CPEC and all the speculations had been proved wrong.
China acknowledged Pakistan’s role and assured their complete support for the peace and stability in Afghanistan, he said, adding, “Chinese leaders understand that the reconciliation process should move forward.”
To a question, he said that the purpose of his four countries’ visit was a regional outreach on the Afghan issue and taking them into confidence over the latest situation regarding the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. He said that he held consultations with the leaders of Afghanistan, Iran and China. “I discussed new alliances and developments in Afghanistan and presented our point of view,” the foreign minister said.
The minister said that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appreciated the entire peace process and expressed complete support, saying it was the shared and common objective of both the neighbouring countries. He said that during his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Tehran, the present similarity of views and common approach between the two countries was seen the first time after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Pakistan is a close friend of Iran, he added.
Regarding his visit to Moscow, he said that Russia is an important country in the region and during his visit to the country, he would discuss the Afghan issue with his Russian counterpart.
FM Qureshi was assisted by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khalid while Wang Yi was assisted by the senior officials of the Chinese foreign ministry and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing.
Earlier, the foreign minister was accorded a warm welcome by senior officials of the Chinese foreign ministry and Ambassador Masood Khalid when he arrived in the Chinese capital after the visit of Afghanistan and Iran. He was warmly received and welcomed by his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi before the talks at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.
‘POLITICAL RECONCILIATION FOR RESOLVING AFGHAN ISSUE’:
Commenting on FM Qureshi’s visit to China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying she said that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Pakistani counterpart, who made a special trip to China. “The two sides conducted in-depth discussions on the latest changes in the situation in Afghanistan and reached a broad consensus,” she added. Hua Chunying said the two sides agreed that military means could not solve the Afghan issue and that promoting political reconciliation was the only realistic way.
“The two sides welcome the various efforts made by the parties and are willing to maintain close communication and strategic coordination,” she added.
She said that the two countries also unanimously agreed to further deepen China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership and continuously improve the level of all-round cooperation.