On Saturday, the foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan discussed political engagement, security issues and trade relations in Islamabad.
“Political engagement, counter-terrorism, trade, and connectivity” were discussed during the fifth trilateral dialogue of foreign ministers, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said.
Pakistan said it looks forward to advancing the common agenda of the three countries for regional cooperation under the trilateral framework, as the diplomats held bilateral and tripartite meetings during the day.
“China is ready to step up counter-terrorism and security cooperation with Afghanistan and Pakistan and jointly fight terrorist threats,” Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said, addressing the press after the fourth round of Pakistan-China strategic dialogue.
“For us in Pakistan, our core issue, our red line, is the issue of terrorism which poses a serious threat to regional stability and peace. So we are keen on working trilaterally to help the people of Afghanistan,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said.
The Chinese foreign minister and his Pakistani counterpart held bilateral talks and “underscored” the need for continued assistance and support to Afghanistan, including unfreezing Kabul’s overseas financial assets.
Afghan interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, who is subject to a travel ban by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) but was given an exemption to visit Islamabad, met with the Chinese foreign minister.
Muttaqi is due to have a bilateral meeting with Zardari on Sunday.
“In coming interactions, we can expect the three sides to discuss and develop some sort of consensus on expanding the scope and coverage of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan,” Irfan Shahzad Takalvi, founding president of the Eurasian Century Institute, told German Press Agency (DPA).
Pakistan also reiterated its support for China over several issues, including Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong.
Addressing a joint news conference with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Islamabad would continue to firmly support China on central issues of national interest, including Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea.
“We greatly appreciate China’s steadfast support on all our issues of core national interests, including the principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” Pakistan’s top diplomat said after the Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue meeting of foreign ministers in Islamabad.
The Chinese side also reiterated its support for Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, as well as its unity, stability, and economic prosperity.
The Chinese side, for its part, appreciated the measures taken by Pakistan to ensure enhanced security of Chinese projects, personnel and institutions in Pakistan, as well as the steps taken to apprehend and bring to justice the perpetrators targeting Chinese nationals in Dasu, Karachi and other attacks.
At least 10 Chinese nationals were killed and 28 others wounded during an attack on a bus carrying Chinese workers in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in July 2021.
Later Pakistan announced that Islamabad would compensate the families of 36 Chinese nationals who died and were injured in “the terrorist attack.”
Peace, stability in South Asia
Meanwhile, the two sides also underscored the importance of maintaining peace and stability in South Asia and the need to resolve all outstanding disputes.
Also, according to the statement, Zardari briefed Qin on the latest developments in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir dispute was “left over from history between India and Pakistan.” Therefore, it should be resolved peacefully per the U.N. Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.
“Both sides opposed any unilateral actions that further complicate the already volatile situation,” the statement added.
The two top diplomats also stressed that peace and stability in Afghanistan are vital for socio-economic development, connectivity and prosperity in the region.
Both sides called on all stakeholders to work together for “a peaceful, stable, prosperous and united Afghanistan.”
Islamabad and Beijing underscored the need for the international community to provide continued assistance and support to Afghanistan, including through unfreezing Afghanistan’s overseas financial assets.
They also agreed to provide humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people and enhance cooperation with Kabul by extending CPEC to Afghanistan.
Source : DailySabah