By Gaurav Sharma
Beijing, May 24 (IANS) China on Friday welcomed the exchange of pleasantries between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the re-election of the Indian leader.
Beijing hoped the two arch-rivals would continue to show goodwill and resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue.
“China has noted the interaction between the two leaders and we welcome that. Both the countries are important in South Asia and harmony between them serves the fundamental interests of both sides and it is the common aspiration of the international community,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang.
“We hope the two sides can continue to show goodwill, meet each other halfway, resolve differences through dialogue, improve their relations and jointly uphold regional peace and security,” he said.
Khan congratulated Modi on Twitter on the latter’s electoral win, saying he looked forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia.
Modi responded in a similar fashion “expressing gratitude for your good wishes. I have always given primacy to peace and development in our region”.
India and Pakistan nearly went to war early this year after the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed the attack.
China is Pakistan’s close ally and India’s disconcerting neighbour that shares its border with both the countries who have a seething dispute over Kashmir.
China has indicated to broker peace between them, a proposal spurned by India on the account of Beijing’s close proximity with Pakistan.
Beijing is also constructing a multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through the disputed part of Kashmir held by Pakistan and opposed by New Delhi.
Meanwhile, China’s Vice-President Wang Qishan will be on a two-day Pakistan visit.
“At the invitation of the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutt and the German federal government, Vice-President Wang Qishan will pay visits to Pakistan, the Netherlands and Germany from May 26 to June 2,” Lu said.
Wang will be meeting Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi and have talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan. He will exchange views on deepening the bilateral relations, international and regional issues of mutual interest.
“We are iron friends. We firmly support each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests. Pakistan has been the priority in China’s diplomacy. Now there is sound momentum made in our cooperation and frequent high-level exchanges,” Lu said.
“We are deepening our mutually beneficial cooperation and conducting close coordination in international and regional forums. Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the second Belt and Road Forum in China last month and he met President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang and Vice-President Wang,” he said, adding both sides signed many bilateral cooperation agreements.
“We believe Wang’s visit will further deepen our high-level exchanges, friendship and mutual trust, advance our CPEC development and cooperation across the board and inject new impetus in a closer community of shared future in the new era for our two countries.”