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China again takes a Kashmir potshot at India as border dispute smoulders

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(TibetanReview.net, May09’23) – Despite India’s known strong opposition, repeated many times in the past, China has again sought to provoke India by expressing support for Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. The provocation was made on May 6 in a joint statement issued after the Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang co-chaired the 4th round of the Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue in Islamabad with his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

What is more, the provocation came After Qin had a one-on-one meeting with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar just ahead of the May 5 council of foreign ministers meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Goa. The meeting did not yield any substantive result, with the two sides reiterating their mutually incompatible positions.

The joint statement said: “The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir dispute was left over from history between India and Pakistan and should be properly and peacefully resolved in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.

“Both sides opposed any unilateral actions that further complicate the already volatile situation.”

India has previously criticised China and Pakistan for what it calls their unwarranted references to its Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

China on its part has agreed with Pakistan to criticize India for revoking the special constitutional status of the state of Jammu & Kashmir and its division of the territory into Jammu & Kashmir as a Union Territory with legislature and Ladakh as a Union Territory without legislature in 2019, calling it a unilateral action.

“We have consistently rejected such statements and all parties concerned are well aware of our clear position on these matters. The Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh are and always will be integral and inalienable parts of India. No other country has locus standi to comment on the same,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs had said last year when the two close allies mentioned the Kashmir issue in a joint statement.

In their May 6 joint statement, China and Pakistan have also agreed on continuing their enduring support on issues concerning each other’s core national interests.

“Reaffirming Pakistan’s special place in China’s neighbourhood diplomacy, the Chinese side reiterated its firm support for Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, as well as its unity, stability, and economic prosperity,” it read.

The Pakistani side reiterated its commitment to the “One China” policy as well as its firm support to China on all core issues of its national interest, including Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

The statement said the entire range of bilateral relations and cooperation, including in political, strategic, economic, defence security, education and cultural domains was reviewed while regional and global issues of mutual interest were also discussed during the dialogue.

The two sides spoke highly of the estimated $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Cooperation (CPEC) under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects which has been mired in problems and controversies, with India opposing it as it encompasses projects in Pakistan-occupied region of Kashmir.

The two foreign ministers underlined that Pakistan-China friendship was a historic reality and a conscious choice of the two nations, the statement said.

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