A joint statement, issued hereafter Prime Minister Imran Khan’s talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, said that China backed Pakistan’s efforts to improve ties with India to settle “outstanding disputes”, without directly mentioning the Kashmir issue.
“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,” the joint statement said.
The ties between India and Pakistan had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016 and India’s surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
In recent years, China has refrained from taking a public stance on the India-Pakistan ties, expressing hope for resolution of the disputes through dialogue.
On the Kashmir issue, China’s oft-repeated stand was that it should be resolved peacefully through dialogue.
India too supports dialogue as the way to resolve the issue with Pakistan but maintains that the talks and terrorism cannot go together.
For its part, Pakistan supported the active participation of China at the platform of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).