ISLAMABAD: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang YI on Friday said that China stood by Pakistan and called upon the world community to acknowledge Pakistan’s efforts for world peace. Wang Yi stressed that Beijing saw Pakistan as a close ally, which was a key part of the solution to defeat international terrorism. He praised Pakistan as Beijing's "good brother and iron friend".
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi addressed a joint press conference with the visiting Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. Without naming the United States or India, Wang Yi said that it was time that 'some' countries give Pakistan full credit for its counter-terrorism efforts.
"For years, Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism. More importantly, Pakistan is an important participant in the international cooperation against terrorism. When it comes to the issue of counter-terrorism, Pakistan has done its best with a clear conscience. In comparison, some countries need to give Pakistan the full credit that it deserves", he added. He pointed out that the government and the people of Pakistan had made huge sacrifices in the fight against terror for everyone to see and the international community should recognise that.
On the occasion, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said Pakistan strongly adhered to one-China policy: "We support China on its core issues of Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and South China Sea.
"Operations Zarb-e-Azb and Raddul Fasaad are against terrorist groups including ETIM (East Turkestan Islamic Movement), have yielded positive results. ETIM is not only a threat to China but also to Pakistan.
“We will pursue a policy of engagement with Kabul in bringing peace to the region," he said. Even as the Trump administration announced 3,500 additional troops to the battleground in Afghanistan, Pakistan and China declared that there was no military solution to the continuous strife in the land-locked country and together pushed for holding negotiations as the only way forward. China assured Pakistan that it would safeguard its "national sovereignty and dignity".
"Pakistan is a good brother and iron friend. I want to let you know that with the communication between the three parties, there is initial progress in trilateral cooperation. Before the end of this year, there would be the first China, Pakistan, Afghanistan foreign ministers meeting in China", Wang Yi said.
Khawaja Asif, after visiting Saudi Arabia, is on his second visit abroad after assuming charge as the foreign minister. He is accompanied by National Security Adviser, General
(retd) Nasser Janjua. Khawaja Asif told the media that he was looking forward to meet his Afghan counterpart in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session.
"It's our firm view that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, the focus should be on a politically-negotiated settlement," Asif told reporters in Beijing. "China is playing a very constructive role in this regard. We have agreed that the solution to the Afghan conflict has to be fundamentally political and that there is no military solution to the issue.”
Spokesman at the Foreign Office, giving further details of the joint presser, welcomed China's efforts to bring Pakistan and Afghanistan on the table together. Friday's bilateral discussions in Beijing clearly state that the Trump administration's plans to put more boots on the ground appeared highly unrealistic and that a regional solution could be worked out, which would also see the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban joining talks at a later stage.
This new trilateral arrangement announced on Friday sees the departure for all practical purposes, of the United States which was part of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) together with China, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Stressing the need to intensify trilateral cooperation among Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, Wang said his country stands ready to support the improvement of relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"We reaffirmed that only the advancement of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process is the viable way out to address the Afghan issue. Peace in Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan, China and the entire region. Strategic communication, security dialogue and practical cooperation would be the pillars of the new platform for regional cooperation", Wang Yi was quoted by media reports.
Spokesman at the Foreign Office said that Khawaja Asif praised the 'crucial' role that China had played to bring Pakistan and Afghanistan together. "To support that initiative Pakistan has already undertaken many steps and will pursue those steps for improving the relationship with Kabul. Islamabad is working on a substantive and robust engagement with Kabul at the political level, security level, military level, intelligence level", stated Khawaja Asif.
Recently, there has been talk about China letting down Pakistan during the BRICS summit held in China. The Indian media went hoarse that China had betrayed Pakistan because some militant groups based in Pakistan had been named terrorist entities. But a close reading of the text of two resolutions first at the Heart of Afghanistan Conference held last winter in Amritsar and recently the one released at the conclusion of BRICS summit make it apparent that there is no difference as far as names of militant groups are concerned. In fact at BRICS, China went a step further to add the name of Pakistani Taliban protected by Afghanistan in the list of terrorist organisations.
Para 14 of the Heart of Afghanistan resolution to which Pakistan was a signatory states, "We remain concerned by the gravity of the security situation in Afghanistan in particular and the region and the high level of violence caused by the Taliban, terrorist groups including ISIL/Daesh and its affiliates, the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, East Turkistan Islamic Movement, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Jundullah and other foreign terrorist fighters."
Later, at the BRICS summit, the resolution stated, "We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/Daesh, al-Qaeda and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ul-Tahrir".
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