Pakistan's Imran Khan in China to talk Kashmir, economic ties | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

18 October, Friday


Pakistan's Imran Khan in China to talk Kashmir, economic ties

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Analysts say that Beijing's response to India's actions in Kashmir has not been up to Islamabad's expectations. At the same time, China is reportedly unhappy with a lack of progress on its Pakistan economic corridor.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Beijing on Tuesday to discuss the security situation in the Indian-administered Kashmir, Deutsche Welle reported.

The premier was set to hold talks with Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Tuesday.

"The visit will be instrumental in further cementing Pakistan's economic, investment and strategic ties with China," Khan's office said in a statement.

"The prime minister will exchange views ... the state of peace and security in South Asia arising from the situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir," the statement added.

Kashmir has been in a state of lockdown since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi abrogated its special status on August 5.

India's moves have strained ties with Pakistan, which also claims sovereignty over the region.

Pakistan and India both rule part of the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir but claim it in full. The restive region is a flashpoint between the nuclear-armed archrivals. China, too, has some territorial claims in the area.

 

Chinese concerns over Kashmir

China is a close Pakistan ally, with Islamabad heavily dependent on Beijing's strategic and economic support.

Beijing is opposed to New Delhi's Kashmir move, especially its decision to carve the Ladakh region out of Jammu and Kashmir state and administer it federally. A Chinese government spokesperson called the move "unacceptable" and said that it would help Pakistan in defending "its legitimate rights and interests" in the Kashmir region.

China claims about 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, referred to informally by some Chinese as "Southern Tibet." India, on the other hand, claims sovereignty over 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of the Aksai Chin plateau.

Narayani Basu, a New Delhi-based author and foreign policy expert, believes that the Kashmir crisis won't have a huge impact on Sino-India relations. "China, at the moment, is dealing with a number of domestic and global issues, so it cannot solely focus on Kashmir," Basu told DW, referring to Beijing's woes in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as its ongoing trade conflict with the United States.

"There will be diplomatic posturing from both sides, but any major fallout is unlikely," Basu added.

This situation only makes things more difficult for Pakistan, which has so far not received the kind of Chinese backing over Kashmir that it has been looking for, say experts.

Pakistani authorities say they are satisfied with Beijing's support on the Kashmir issue.

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