After Imran Khan Trip, China Backs Pak On Dispute With India, Nuke Group

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Imran Khan and China's Premier Li Keqiang attend a welcome ceremony in Beijing (AFP)

Beijing:

China and Pakistan today agreed to further tighten military cooperation after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan ended his official talks with the Chinese leadership in Beijing. In a joint statement released as Mr Khan flew to Shanghai, China also came out in support of "Pakistan's efforts for improvement of Pakistan-India relations and for settlement of outstanding disputes between the two countries".

Islamabad and Beijing also "dismissed the growing negative propaganda" against the so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which India opposes, "and expressed determination to safeguard the CPEC projects from all threats".

On defence, security and counter-terrorism, both sides agreed to further enhance cooperation and maintain high-level visits at various levels between the two armed forces.

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Calling for a peaceful and stable South Asia, the joint statement underlined the importance of pursuit of dialogue and resolution of disputes to promote regional cooperation.

"China appreciates Pakistan's quest for peace through dialogue, cooperation and negotiation, on the basis of mutual respect and equality, and supports Pakistan's efforts for improvement of Pakistan-India relations and for settlement of outstanding disputes between the two countries," it said.

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The $50 billion corridor that connects Kashgar in western China with Gwadar port in Pakistan, spanning 3,000 kilometres, is one of the pain points in ties between India and China.

China also backed Pakistan's engagement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), of which both Islamabad and New Delhi are not members, and said it welcomed Pakistan's adherence of NSG guidelines.

The joint statement covered every area of bilateral relationship including economy. China and Pakistan signed 15 agreements and memorandums on a range of issues during Mr Khan's visit.

"In political relations and strategic communication, both sides stressed they will continue to view China-Pakistan relations from a strategic and long-term perspective. The Chinese side reiterated that China's relationship with Pakistan is always a matter of highest priority in its foreign policy," the statement said.

The $50 billion corridor that connects Kashgar in western China with Gwadar port in Pakistan, spanning 3,000 kilometres, is one of the pain points in ties between India and China.

India has right from the start protested against China's CPEC push as the corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

India's ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale, in a March interview with the Hong Kong-based daily South China Morning Post, had said that if the CPEC meets the norms of an international programme, then New Delhi has no problem.

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