Chinese President Xi Jinping said yesterday he was watching the situation in Kashmir and would support Pakistan in issues related to its core interests, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Tensions over the disputed region of Kashmir have risen sharply since August, when India revoked the autonomy of the portion of the territory controlled by it.
Xi told Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting in Beijing that the rights and wrongs of the situation were clear, the report said.
“China supports Pakistan to safeguard its own legitimate rights and hopes that the relevant parties can solve their disputes through peaceful dialogue,” Xi said, according to Xinhua.
A joint statement added that China “opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation” while the dispute “should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.”
The Chinese and Pakistani leaders also highlighted discussion around how to speed up progress on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the $60bn infrastructure programme China launched as part of its flagship “Belt and Road” project.
Some officials and observers have said momentum on CPEC is slowing, in part due to concerns over the size of Pakistan’s debt, which led Islamabad to turn to the International Monetary Fund for a $6bn bailout package in July.
“The two sides expressed determination to speedily execute CPEC so that its growth potential can be fully realised making it a high-quality demonstration project for BRI,” the governments said in a joint statement.
Khan said that his government was setting up a “CPEC Authority” to expedite projects, and making arrangements to help Gwadar Port, a deep sea port in Pakistan’s southern Balochistan province, become a regional trade hub.
Khan did not provide details on the plans, but earlier in the day Pakistan’s media reported that the maritime minister had announced China Overseas Ports Holding Company, which operates the port, would get a 23-year tax exemption for installation of machinery and other equipment at the port.