CPEC unrelated to Kashmir issue: China

Ambitious project: The ‘Golden Bridge of Silk Road’, situated outside the venue for next month’s meet in Beijing.

Ambitious project: The ‘Golden Bridge of Silk Road’, situated outside the venue for next month’s meet in Beijing.   | Photo Credit: Andy Wong

China on Tuesday reinforced its call for India’s participation in the Belt and Road connectivity initiative, telling that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), on which India has its reservations, was not linked to the Kashmir issue.

India’s participation

At a press conference, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that India would be represented at Beijing’s high profile Belt and Road Forum on May 14. “Although the Indian leader will not be here, India will have a representative. We welcome the Indian representative as well as members of the business and finance community to take part in the summit,” Mr. Wang said.

India has objected to the CPEC as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

But Mr. Wang said that China’s stance on CPEC projects “had no relationship with the [Kashmir] dispute”.

He added: “Certain sections of the CPEC have raised concerns on the Indian side but these disputes are not the result of the economic corridor... China has been providing support to Pakistan in these areas for many, many years. This is a contribution China is making for development of our neighbouring countries.”

Mr. Wang pointed out that China had even earlier taken up projects, like the Karakoram highway, in the area. They, however, did not have any bearing on China’s position on Kashmir.

“I want to mention that the CPEC is economic, and for the purpose of serving economic cooperation and development. It has no direct link with political or border disputes.”

Referring to the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor — one of the major economic corridors China is planning in its neighbourhood — Mr. Wang said that the four countries are ready to advance it within the framework of Belt and Road.

He said 28 heads of state or government had affirmed their participation at the summit, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and State Councilor Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 10:44:17 PM |

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