A top diplomat in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Thursday said that while there have been setbacks in India-China relationship, the meeting between Chinese President in Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year was a milestone event that brought the relationship “back on track”. But senior MFA diplomats also articulated their support for Pakistan and said Islamabad is “fighting international terror”, and its efforts are “worthy of applause.”
Speaking to journalists from 18 countries who were in Beijing as part of a media delegation organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Yu Jun, Counsellor, MFA, and a senior diplomat, said in response to a question from The Indian Express, “The SCO is committed to the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust and cooperation. For many years, we have taken the Shanghai Spirit as a set of guidelines between member-states. It is fair to say that (in) recent years, the mutual trust is absolutely growing. Yes, to be frank, there is conflict between China and India, and India and Pakistan. But under SCO we have established a platform of dialogue.”
Stating last year saw “some setbacks in the relationship” between India and China, Yu said, “Due to our joint efforts, leaders of the two countries met in Wuhan in an informal summit. This was a milestone event, putting things back on the normal track. We often say that regional countries have a shared future.”
The question was about regional conflicts between SCO member-counties being an impediment to cooperation.
In response to a question from another delegate, Yu said, “We also know that Pakistan has been fighting international terror and they have paid costs. We applaud its efforts in this regard and urge support from countries under the framework of SCO.”
The ministry reiterated its positions on Hong Kong and Beijing’s stance on the trade war between China and the United States.
On Hong Kong, Yu said steps the administration’s steps taken against the protesters, which he said have faced condemnation from parts of the international community, were lawful and legitimate. He said, “Hong Kong’s problems are China’s internal affairs. The steps that have been taken are legitimate, lawful, and will prevent Hong Kong from becoming a haven for criminals. The outrageous moves of (some) radical elements has gone far beyond what freedom of speech and assembly can allow.”
Yu said China would continue to back the administration in Hong Kong, and that some “western countries” were instigating trouble by making “groundless remarks.”
On the trade war between China and the US, Yu blamed Washington for initiating it and said the US believes in “unilateralism and bullying”. He said, “This (China-US trade war) will hurt the world economy and the US itself…. China doesn’t want a trade war – not that it is afraid of one.”
(The reporter was part of a media delegation from 18 countries invited to China by SCO).