Pakistani PM travels to China to discuss Kashmir
Tuesday, 08 October 2019
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has traveled to China on a two-day visit to discuss the situation in Kashmir, which Pakistan disputes with India, as well as other issues.
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has traveled to China on a two-day visit to discuss the situation in Kashmir, which Pakistan disputes with India, as well as other issues.
The Pakistani prime minister held talks with Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang, on Tuesday.
Khan’s office said in an earlier statement that the visit, the third since he took over as prime minister in August last year, was meant to strengthen “economic and strategic” ties with China.
“The visit will be instrumental in further cementing Pakistan’s economic, investment, and strategic ties with China,” the statement read. “The prime minister will exchange views... the state of peace and security in South Asia arising from the situation in occupied Jammu & Kashmir.”
China holds a thinly-populated, high-altitude area of Kashmir and has a longstanding dispute over the border there with India.
On August 5, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the semi-autonomy of the part of Kashmir that India controls. New Delhi deployed troops to the region to stymie potential protests. The government in New Delhi also imposed severe restrictions on movements, and cut all landline, mobile phone, and internet connections.
Authorities also arrested thousands of people, including politicians, leaders of independence-seeking groups, and other civil society members across the valley.
The controversial moves angered both Pakistan, which controls parts of Kashmir, and the local population.
Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, which have fought three of their four wars over the disputed territory. Both countries rule parts of Kashmir while claiming it in full.
Khan’s visit to China will also include talks on the progress of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an infrastructure program China launched as part of its flagship “Belt and Road” project.
Some media reports say the CPEC project has slowed since Prime Minister Khan came to power in Pakistan in August 2018. Khan is likely to allay Chinese concerns about that perceived lack of progress.
Khan’s visit also comes before the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is due to decide whether Pakistan’s efforts to clamp down on terror financing are sufficient for it to avoid being placed on a “black list” of countries.
The Pakistani prime minister is counting on China’s support in the FATF Paris consultations that will begin on October 13.