China changes tack on Kashmir

Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India and Nepal, which is expected to be officially announced on Wednesday, Beijing has dropped references to the role of the United Nations in resolving the Kashmir issue.

Instead Beijing has advocated direct talks between New Delhi and Islamabad. In the presence of visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, in response to a question, said: “China’s position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear. We call upon India and Pakistan to enhance dialogue and consultation on issues including Kashmir and consolidate mutual trust. This is in line with the interests of both countries and common aspirations of the world.”

Mr. Geng’s statement is a departure from the recent position adopted by Beijing after India revoked Article 370. China had backed Islamabad to internationalise the Kashmir issue at the United Nations.

“The Kashmir issue, a dispute left from the past, should be peacefully and properly addressed in accordance with the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreement,” State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi had said in his address to the UN General Assembly last month.

During his daily media briefing, Mr. Geng pointed out that China was moving ahead with its ties with India and Pakistan on separate tracks.

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