Islamabad: Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Guangzhou city and emphasized that “it is critical to resolve all outstanding disputes in South Asia.
This is Bilawal’s first visit to China after he took over as foreign minister following the fall of the Imran Khan-led government last month.
“Given the challenges faced by the peoples of the region, due to global pandemic, soaring commodity prices, climate change, and poverty, it is critical to resolve all outstanding disputes to promote regional cooperation and advance the goals of lasting peace, stability, and shared prosperity,” Pakistan state-run APP news agency quoted the joint statement as saying.
While it said Bilawal has “briefed the Chinese side about the latest developments in Jammu and Kashmir”, the reference to all “outstanding disputes raised speculation whether it also alluded to the border dispute between India and China, especially the current over two-year-long military standoff at Eastern Ladakh.
Bilawal’s visit coincided with the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Pakistan. On May 21, 1951, Pakistan and China established diplomatic ties almost a year after India.
“The two sides agreed to issue an “enhanced version” for safeguarding the safety of Chinese personnel, institutions, and projects in Pakistan, and will formulate specific plans for implementation as soon as possible,” the joint statement said.
“The two sides called on regional countries and the international community to form a joint effort to combat all forms of terrorism,” it said. They also discussed economic coordination, industrialization, and the speeding up of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).