China on mediation mission to ‘bridge’ differences between Pakistan and Iran

China maintains close communication with Iran and Pakistan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said

Published - January 22, 2024 04:55 pm IST - Beijing

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Iran and Pakistan are friendly neighbours, and both are good friends of China. File

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Iran and Pakistan are friendly neighbours, and both are good friends of China. File | Photo Credit: AP

China on January 22 said it is maintaining close contacts with Pakistan and Iran to “bridge their differences” after the two nations conducted airstrikes against each other last week.

The Foreign Ministry's statement came amidst the reported visit of Foreign Minister Sun Weidong to Pakistan on a mediation mission.

Also Read | Why did Iran carry out strikes in three countries? 

China on Thursday last offered to play a “constructive role” to ease tension between Islamabad and Tehran after Pakistan conducted "precision military strikes" against what it called "terrorist hideouts" in Iran's Siestan-Balochistan province that killed 9 people in the wee hours on Thursday. The attack was seen as retaliation to Iranian missile and drone attacks on Tuesday last which targeted two bases of the Sunni Baloch militant group Jaish al-Adl in Pakistan's unruly Balochistan province.

The attacks have put China in a piquant situation as Pakistan is an all-weather ally, while Iran is warming up to Beijing in recent years enabling China to expand its influence in the West Asia region. China also imports a considerable amount of oil from Iran.

China maintains close communication with Iran and Pakistan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing on Monday when asked by a Pakistani journalist about Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu’s phone call with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani on Sunday and the current visit of another Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong to Pakistan.

Mr. Sun was a former Ambassador to Pakistan and India.

Mr. Wang said Iran and Pakistan are friendly neighbours, and both are good friends of China.

“China is committed to upholding regional and international peace and stability, and supports Iran and Pakistan in continuing to bridge differences through dialogue and consultation,” Mr. Wang said.

The spokesperson said China would like to continue to play a positive and constructive role in improving the relations between Iran and Pakistan based on the needs of the two countries.

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