ISLAMABAD, Pakistan 

China and Pakistan on Friday praised efforts by the Afghan government and Taliban to initiate intra-Afghan negotiations and urged both sides to commence talks for durable peace and stability in the war-torn country as soon as possible.  

In a joint statement following the second round of the China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue in Hainan, China, both sides emphasized the importance of an inclusive, broad-based, and comprehensive negotiated agreement for a future political settlement in Afghanistan.

“While reaffirming their commitment to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned Peace Process, both sides encouraged relevant parties in Afghanistan to seize this historic opportunity and commence the Intra-Afghan Negotiations at the earliest leading to durable peace and stability in Afghanistan. China appreciated Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process and efforts for promoting peace and stability in region and beyond,” said the statement.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi arrived in Hainan along with a high-level delegation on Thursday, in his second visit to China after the coronavirus outbreak originating in Wuhan since last December.

In March, Qureshi visited along with President Arif Alvi in an apparent show of his country’s solidarity with China battling COVID-19.

A video released by Pakistan showed Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warmly welcomed his Pakistani counterpart upon his arrival for the second round of the China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue in Hainan.

The first round took place in March 2019.

During the meeting, the top diplomats exchanged views on the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral relations, and international and regional issues of mutual interest, and reached a consensus to take collective measures to safeguard their common interests and promote peace, prosperity, and development in the region, according to the statement.

“Both sides opposed politicizing the pandemic, labeling viruses; supported WHO to play a leading role in global public health governance, and called for the international community to increase the sense of a community of shared future and carry out effective joint prevention and control measures in order to mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19,” the joint statement said.

Beijing and Islamabad also agreed to continue their support on issues concerning each other’s core national interests.

“The Chinese side reiterated that Pakistan and China are iron brothers and Pakistan remains China’s staunchest partner in the region and that China firmly supports Pakistan in safeguarding its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, independently choosing a development path based on its national conditions, striving for a better external security environment and playing a more constructive role on international and regional affairs,” the statement added.

-Economic corridor initiative

Qureshi also praised China for standing with Islamabad in safeguarding its national security and sovereignty, and reaffirmed its firm support to Beijing on affairs concerning China’s core interests and issues of major concern related to Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong.

Both sides also discussed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and expressed satisfaction on agreements reached on recent mega energy projects and agreed to convene the 10th JCC meeting at the earliest possible date to promote CPEC to make positive contributions to the high-quality construction of China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative.

The $64 billion CPEC – a network of roads, railways, and pipelines – aims to connect China’s strategically important northwestern Xinxiang province to the port of Gawadar in faraway Balochistan.

While the corridor would give China easy access to Africa and the Mideast, it would also earn Pakistan earn billions of dollars and spur business activities along the road network replacing the fabled Silk Road.

Qureshi also briefed his Chinese counterpart on the current situation in Jammu & Kashmir, including his country’s concerns, position, and current urgent issues.

“The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan, which is an objective fact, and that the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation,” said the joint statement

Both China and Pakistan reaffirmed the vitality of the time-tested and all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries which remains unaffected by the vicissitudes of the regional and international developments and continues to move from strength to strength, the statement concluded.

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