Updated: February 28, 2019 3:18:24 pm
In a first since India launched airstrikes in Pakistan’s Balakot region this week, China on Thursday was firm in its view that “sovereignty” and “territorial integrity” of all countries “must be respected.” “China believes that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected. We oppose any practices that violate the UN Charter and the norms of international law,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.
Lu’s comments in the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s briefing here in Beijing, came after a telephonic conversation held late Wednesday between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, after which the MFA stressed that China did not wish to see actions that violate norms of international relations. “The Pakistani Foreign Minister briefed state councillor Wang on the latest developments and Pakistan’s stance. State councillor Wang expressed concerns and said that China will still play a constructive role, he also said that he is concerned about the tensions between the two countries and reiterated that the two sides should exercise restraint and avoid escalation. He stressed that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected. He also talked about China’s efforts in promoting peace and facilitating talks,” Lu said.
A sizeable number of questions on the growing tensions between India and Pakistan were put forth in the MFA’s briefing. Chinese news agency, Xinhua, referring to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s televised broadcast asking for peace, asked Lu to elaborate on China’s response and its role to ease tensions between the two countries.
“Recently China has been in close communication with both sides to promote peace and facilitate talks, as you said, two sides both said they do not want escalation of tensions. So we hope that the two countries can meet each other half way and resolve this issue. China will continue to play our due role,” he said.
Further, to a question on China’s continued blocking of international efforts to list JeM leader Masood Azhar on the terror list, Lu said that the UN Security Council’s 1267 committee had “clear criteria for listing and procedure for the listing of terrorist groups and individuals.” “China will continue to engage in the discussions on this issue,” said Lu.
However, to a question on the pilot of the Indian airforce captured in Pakistani territory, and India’s request that be treated according to the Geneva Convention, Lu said he has been noticing differing media reports from both India and Pakistan on the issue. “Well, from yesterday to this morning, I have noticed that media from India and Pakistan now have different reporting on this. So I will not comment on this,” he said.
Stressing on China’s earlier statements, he said: “I want reiterate as two important countries in South Asia, having a harmonious relationship is very important. The recent developments have led to the escalation of tensions and this is not what we want to see and we are concerned. Just like the senior officials said from both sides, we hope that both can properly manage situations, so things can return to normal.”
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