ISLAMABAD: China on Tuesday urged the world to recognise Pakistan’s role in the global battle against terrorism in a message that appears to be aimed at the United States, which in recent months has been critical of Islamabad’s contributions to fighting militancy.
“This country (Pakistan) has made huge sacrifices and has made huge contributions in the struggle against terrorism. This should be recognised by the international community and Pakistan deserves whole-hearted support from the international community,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
The top Chinese diplomat is leading a high-level delegation including senior intelligence officials to Pakistan at a time when relations between Islamabad and Washington are at their lowest ebb.
Yang met President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and held formal talks with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. He is also scheduled to meet Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani today.
At a joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart, the Chinese foreign minister threw his country’s weight behind Pakistan’s efforts to safeguard its sovereignty, security, territorial integrity and dignity.
Without referring to the ongoing tensions between Pakistan and the United States, he pointed out that partnership between Pakistan and China had become ever more important due to recent international developments.
“Against the backdrop of the evolving international situation, it is all the more important for us that Pakistan and China have a strong partnership,” he added. He said the purpose of his visit was to further enhance long-term strategic partnerships between the two countries.
Diplomatic sources revealed that although China has backed Pakistan in the face of its strained ties with the US, it has advised Islamabad to avoid a confrontational path.
This was also reflected in a statement issued by the Prime Minister House after the meeting between Prime Minister Gilani and the Chinese delegation. The statement quoted the Chinese foreign minister as saying that Beijing had encouraged both India and the US to improve ties with Pakistan and accept its legitimate demands. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP)
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2012.