Quickly turn the page

China on Friday advised India and Pakistan to move ahead from the current disaster triggered by the Pulwama terror attack in February to seek a long-term improvement in ties.

“We advise both parties to quickly turn the page and seek a fundamental long term improvement in their relations,” foreign minister, Wang Yi stated.

The Chinese FM said the India and Pakistan should end their current hostilities.

“When confrontation gives way to dialogue and disagreements are settled…..they can build a better future through cooperation,” Wang said addressing his annual press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing session of China’s rubber-stamp Parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC).

China hopes that the two countries will get along and progress together, Wang, who is also a state councilor, continued.

Islamabad is under pressure from global powers to act against groups carrying out attacks in India, covering the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel.

The Pulwama suicide attack – the worst in Kashmir — led to the most serious conflict in years between the nuclear-armed neighbors with India carrying out a strike on a JeM camp in Balakot and then a dogfight over the skies of Kashmir.

The crisis seems to have eased after Pakistan returned IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, nearly two days after he was captured.

“China also hopes that Pakistan and India will transform the crisis into an opportunity and meet each other halfway,” Wang said.

Wang was responding to a question from a journalist from Pakistan on the current tension between India and Pakistan and China’s role in calming the situation.

“Glad to take a question from our ‘iron brother,’” Wang said, referring to the phrase the Chinese and Pakistani leadership use to describe the close ties between the two countries.

Talking about Beijing’s role in attempting to defuse the situation, Wang said:

“China has stressed from the beginning the need to exercise calm and restraint, prevent an escalation, find out what has happened and resolve the matter through dialogue. In the meantime, a country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should be fully respected. China has followed these principles in its mediation efforts and played a constructive role in defusing the tension.”

On the current status of bilateral ties with India, Wang said the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in 2018 set the direction for “future relations” to “forge ahead like Yangtze and Ganges” rivers.

Wang said the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in Wuhan in central China last year had not only “…created a new model of high level interactions between our two countries, deepened trust between our leaders but (also) set the direction for our future relations.”

“Over the past year, government departments on both sides have done a lot and made considerable progress in following through many understandings reached by our leaders,” the foreign minister said.

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