China on Wednesday said it welcomed next week’s meeting between the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan, saying it saw improved relations between the two countries as “vital” to regional stability.
The >DGMOs of the two countries are scheduled to meet on December 24, 2013 following up on the September meeting in New York between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his counterpart Nawaz Sharif, during which the two leaders agreed to find effective means to restore the ceasefire along the Line of Control.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said, “We welcome the efforts made by Pakistan and India for a ceasefire at the Line of Control in Kashmir”.
“Both Pakistan and India are important countries in South Asia,” said spokesperson Hua Chunying.
“The improvement of relations between the two countries is of vital importance to regional peace, stability and development,” Ms. Hua added. “As the neighbour and friend of Pakistan and India, China will, as it always does, support Pakistan and India in properly resolving relevant disputes through peaceful dialogue.”
China and Pakistan enjoy close military ties. Only this week, Mr. Sharif, the Pakistani Prime Minister, hailed China's support and assistance in the manufacture of 50 JF-17 fighter jets.
At the same time, Chinese officials emphasise that ties with Pakistan are not directed at “a third party”, with Beijing, over the past decade, also looking to improve ties with India, both on the strategic and commercial fronts.
In recent months, with rising tensions with several of its other neighbours, such as Japan and the Philippines, over maritime disputes, Beijing has also appeared keen to maintain stability and boost ties with India, with new Prime Minister Li Keqiang choosing India as his first overseas trip earlier this year. Mr. Li subsequently travelled to Pakistan.
India has, however, made its concerns known over certain aspects of the China-Pakistan “all-weather relationship”, most notably involving on-going Chinese investments in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). China is also planning an economic corridor linking its western Xinjiang region to the Gwadar port in Pakistan, which envisages expanded road links, a railway line and pipelines, all passing through PoK.