China on Monday asked India and Pakistan to seek a solution to the Kashmir issue through peaceful and friendly consultations and offered to play a “constructive role” in resolving the “bilateral issue.”

As a friendly country, China would also be happy to see progress in the peace process, said Hu Zhengyue, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, in charge of the Asian region.

“Kashmir is an issue that has been longstanding left from history. This issue touches the bilateral relations between the relevant countries,” he told a group of visiting foreign journalists here.

As China is a friendly neighbour of both countries, it hopes to see that the two sides “will seek a solution through peaceful and friendly consultations,” Mr. Hu said when asked by a Pakistani journalist if China was prepared to play some role in the resolution of the issue.

While he stressed that Kashmir was a bilateral issue, he stopped short of ruling out the possibility of mediation.

“As a friend, China will be happy to see such progress [in the peace process] and we will be happy if we can play a constructive role in the resolving of the issue [Kashmir], but after all it is a bilateral issue,” he said.

He said China hoped the peace process between India and Pakistan “will continue to go smoothly.”

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