China on Thursday said the economic corridor that it is planning to construct to link its western Xinjiang region to Pakistan, through parts of the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), was not directed at "a third party" and would not pose any "detriment" to India's concerns on the Kashmir issue.
Parts of the economic corridor, which envisages expanding road links along the Karakoram highway and building energy pipelines, runs through PoK, which borders the Xinjiang region and provides the only possible land link between China and Pakistan.
While India has voiced its concerns about the project, citing China's stated position of not interfering in the Kashmir dispute, Chinese officials have maintained that their investments were only on a commercial basis and "without prejudice" to the dispute.
This week, China and Pakistan discussed taking forward the corridor plan, during the on-going visit of President Mamnoon Hussain to Beijing. Both sides on Wednesday signed an agreement for upgrading the Karakoram highway from the China border all the way to Islamabad.
Asked about India's concerns about the corridor passing through PoK, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters China's cooperation with Pakistan on the project was "to improve well being".
"The relevant cooperation is not directed at a third party, and it will have no detriment to the relevant parties' position on the [Kashmir] issue," she said. "With regard to whether the economic corridor passes through Kashmir, as far as I have learnt, the joint committee for construction of the economic corridor has been established and a second meeting has been held coinciding with the [President's] visit".
Ms. Hua reiterated China's position that it would not involve itself in the dispute between India and Pakistan. "I don't know if they have talked about whether this corridor passes through this region, but I can tell you that we hope the Kashmir issue can be properly resolved through consultation and negotiation between India and Pakistan," she said.