Beijing: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Pakistan on Saturday for talks with the country’s leadership and to attend the China, Pakistan, Afghanistan trilateral meeting.
Wang’s visit to Islamabad assumes significance in the backdrop of Pakistan’s attempts to ratchet up the Kashmir issue after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories on August 5.
After Pakistan, Wang will visit Nepal for talks on bilateral ties, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.
Wang, who is also China’s state councillor, will visit Pakistan and Nepal from September 7 to 10, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
China, an all-weather ally of Pakistan, took up the Kashmir issue with the UN Security Council last month. However, a closed-door UNSC meeting, in a snub to both Beijing and Islamabad, ended without any outcome or statement.
Wang’s visit to Pakistan seems to have had a negative fallout on his planned trip to India next week for the 22nd round of border talks with India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
Chinese officials claimed the visit ran into “scheduling issues”.
Wang’s India trip could take a while to materialise due to the stated policy followed by New Delhi in recent years which discouraged high level political and diplomatic visits to avoid attempts to hyphenate India-Pakistan relations.
“China-Pakistan are all weather strategic cooperative partners and the two countries enjoy good relations, with frequent high-level exchanges and deepening mutual cooperation as well as coordination in regional and international issues,” Geng said.
“This visit will implement our leaders consensus, consolidate friendship and mutual trust, and promote quality development of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor as well as cooperation in other sectors. We will forge a closer unity with a shared future between the two countries,” he said.
The third China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Islamabad is being held at a time when the US is finalising an agreement with the Taliban militants to pull out troops from Afghanistan, raising concern over the return of Islamic militant groups in the war-torn country.
China formed the trilateral mechanism to iron out difference between Islamabad and Kabul over Afghanistan’s charge that Pakistan is supporting the Taliban, which is destabilising the country.
From Pakistan, Wang will travel to Nepal where China in recent years has stepped up investments and its influence with huge connectivity projects, reducing India’s influence in the country.
On Wang’s visit to Nepal, Geng said, “China and Nepal are comprehensive cooperative partners with everlasting friendship.”
“In recent years under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), we have stepped up efforts to build cross Himalayan, all dimensional connectivity network,” he said, referring to infrastructure projects linking Tibet with Nepal.
The two countries are also discussing plans to extend the Chinese railway network in Tibet to Nepal.
“Our cooperation in all sectors is growing rapidly,” Geng said referring to Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s recent visit to Beijing during which the two countries signed the protocol to operationalise transit treaty for Nepal to access Chinese ports.
“This visit by State Councillor Wang is to implement our leaders’ consensus and promote exchange of cooperation as well as all round development of bilateral relations,” he said.
During his visit, Wang will meet with Nepalese leaders and hold talks with Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Geng said.
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