China to carry out 'shuttle diplomacy' for Pakistan, Afghanistan

Posted June 27, 2017

A new air cargo corridor that allows India and Afghanistan to trade goods while bypassing Pakistan has been attacked by the media in China, which is a long-term ally of Islamabad.

Asked about Afghanistan's allegations that Pakistan is harbouring Taliban militants who were blamed for the recurring terrorist attacks in that country, Geng said "this shuttle visit made by Wang was conducted in agreement with Afghanistani and Pakistani sides".

In a joint press release on Sunday, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan expressed their commitment to maintain regional peace and stability, enhance regional connectivity and economic cooperation and promote shared security and development.

Both sides are to discuss bilateral ties and the regional situation.

"This visit is an important step forward in improvement of relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan", Geng added. The Chinese side would support this mechanism.

China was proposing a trilateral mechanism for cooperation for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and coordination of counterterrorism actions between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The article said India has "always been pushing back against the Belt and Road Initiative, so its intention to create its own connectivity network appears to be a strategy to counterbalance" the CPEC - especially to bypass Pakistan.

The three parties called on the Afghan Taliban to join the reconciliation process on an early date.

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China would continue to play its role in this regard.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi was scheduled to speak in Islamabad on Sunday, a day after meeting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul.

China has lately got increasingly involved in Afghanistan. All the stakeholders in Afghan peace, however, will also have to understand Pakistan's genuine concerns about the terrorists and their financiers operating on Afghan soil against our interests.

About their meeting, Sartaj said they identified areas for further consolidation of the "all weather" relationship between Pakistan and the People's Republic of China.

Aziz said the Afghan conflict can not be resolved only through military means, while a sustainable peace in Afghanistan requires a politically negotiated settlement through an Afghan-led Afghan owned peace process.

India yesterday affirmed that bilateral issues between India and Pakistan will have to be decided "bilaterally", reacting to suggestions by United Nations chief Antonio Guteress that he is engaged in bringing about a dialogue between the two neighbours.

Beijing is investing billions of dollars in Pakistan, China's staunch ally, to establish a trade route to gain access to worldwide markets through the Pakistani port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.

Aziz, for his part, thanked China for its support and constructive proposals to promote peace and stability in the region.