BEIJING: According to Chinese media reports, Beijing has welcomed president Asif Ali Zardari's visit to India saying better ties between the "two nuclear- armed heavyweight neighbors" will bring about regional stability.
Beijing is closely watching the visit because it has implications on its own interests involving terrorism and the Siachen glacier that touches Karakoram Highway connecting China with Pakistan.
The State-run Xinhua news agency today issued a candid analysis explaining how better ties between India and Pakistan would serve China's interest. It will help bring down military expenditure by the two countries and help China's modernization drive, as the focus would shift to business, the commentary said.
It said peaceful coexistence between the two countries is "indispensable for regional stability, which is vital for regional prosperity and China's modernization drive. Efforts towards improvement in India-Pakistan ties "certainly are welcomed and applauded by the international community including China." It said.
China last week dropped its support for Pakistan's anti-terrorism efforts. It said six terrorists operating in western China have been trained in a "South Asian country" without specifically naming Pakistan. The move leaves Pakistan in a vulnerable situation because it was counting on Chinese support after its recent troubled with the US on the issue of terrorism.
This is the second time in one year that Zardari is using the cover of religious visit to push for political diplomacy. He observed Id and prayed at a mosque in the Chinese city of Urumqi along with his son and two daughter in August last year after local leaders blamed Pakistan as the source of terrorists causing bloodshed in the border province of Xinjiang.
"China wants to further boost ties with both countries, and is happy to witness continuous improvement of the Pakistan-India ties," Xinhua said in its analysis.
The commentary noted that the two countries have fought three wars engaged in a "tit-for-tat nuclear test race" in 1998. This is interesting because China has planned and erected nuclear power plants in Pakistan although there is no clear evidence that Beijing supported its bomb program.