Beijing: China on Monday welcomed the goodwill messages exchanged by Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan on the occasion of Pakistan National Day, saying it will play a constructive role and supports resolving the differences between the two nations through dialogue and consultations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the occasion of Pakistan Day on March 23, saying : "It was time for the people of the sub-continent to work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive and prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence". Welcoming Modi's greeting, Khan in a tweet said: "As we celebrate Pakistan Day I believe it is time to begin a comprehensive dialogue with India to address & resolve all issues, esp the central issue of Kashmir, & forge a new relationship based on peace & prosperity for all our people".
Modi's message to Khan in the came in the midst of severe strain in ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours following the Pulwama attack and the subsequent air strikes by India on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot.
China welcomed the goodwill message sent out to each other by Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan.
“We noted the relevant reports. We welcome the goodwill (messages) sent out to each other by India and Pakistani leaders. We support the two sides in maintaining engagement and improve of their relations, stabilise the situation and resolve their differences. China will continue to play a constructive role to this end,” Geng Shuang, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, told a media briefing here.
Answering a question whether China recalibrated its position on India-Pakistan to mediate between the two countries to resolve the differences, he said that China's position on India and Pakistan relations is consistent.
“China's position on India and Pakistan relations is consistent. These two countries are important South Asian countries, and we hope they will resolve the issues through dialogue and consultation. China hopes to stay in friendly relations with both of them and we will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the peace talks between these two countries,” he said.
Following the recent tensions between India and Pakistan, China called for restraint between the two countries and sent its Vice Foreign Minister, Kong Kong Xuanyou, to Pakistan for talks with the Pakistani leaders.
Also, the India-Pakistan tension arising out of the Pulwama terrorist attack became the focal point of the first strategic dialogue between Pakistan Foreign Minister Shan Mahmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi here on March 19 during which Wang had “commended” the restraint shown by Pakistan in the recent tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Recently, China for the fourth time blocked a bid in the United Nations Security Council to designate the Pakistan-based chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed Masood Azhar as a "global terrorist" by putting a technical hold on the proposal, a move India termed as disappointing.
The JeM has claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama terror attack that left 40 CRPF personnel dead and raised tensions between India and Pakistan. The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, the UK and the US on February 27.