China and Pakistan are set to firm up their close military ties by expanding their defence cooperation as visiting army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met top defence officials at Beijing.
China and Pakistan have agreed to update their military ties and drive new progress in cooperation,state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Kayani Tuesday met top defence and public security officials amid China’s growing concerns over militancy in Xinjiang province that borders PoK.
Fan Changlong,vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission,who met Kayani on Monday night,praised the fruitful development of bilateral military relations,which “mirrors our all-weather friendship”.
Kayani also met top Communist Party official and Minister for Public Security Guo Shengkun,who oversees the crackdown against militants in Xinjiang province.
The meeting took place in the backdrop of Monday’s car crash at Tiananmen Square,suspected to be a suicide attack by Islamist militants from the border region. Five persons,including three who were in the car,were killed and 38 others injured in first such attack in Beijing.
Fan vowed joint efforts with Pakistan to expand military cooperation,promote personnel exchanges and beef up both bilateral and military ties,the report said.
Kayani said Pakistan views its strategic ties with China as highly significant. He also expressed hope that the youth of the two armed forces could enjoy stronger exchanges.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing,”China supports Pakistan in making counter-terrorism strategies based on its national conditions. We are ready to work with Pakistan and other countries to strengthen cooperation in this area.”
China will also raise the issue of terrorism with Kayani and whether Beijing is concerned about threats posed by militant groups based in Pakistan.
Xinjiang borders both Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) and Afghanistan.
Several reports in the Pakistani media have said that China has expressed concern over the activities of militants from Xinjiang who operate from bases in Pakistan’s restive tribal belt. According to these reports,members of both East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU),are active in that region.
Hua said China believes Pakistan has made “enormous efforts” in cracking down on terrorism.
Huang Xilian,Councillor of the Chinese Foreign Ministry,who spoke to Indian media separately,said terrorism is a common threat to the world and Pakistan is a victim of it. All countries in this region should work together to tackle it,he said.
Xinjiang has been witnessing unrest involving Muslim Uyghurs and Han settlers. In recent years the province witnessed several violent incidents which China blames on the al-Qaeda-linked ETIM.
China-Pakistan defence relations which covered the army,air force and navy are shrouded in secrecy and few details are disclosed during the high-profile visits of their military officials.