May 2001 News

Pak fails to get Chinese support on Kashmir

12 May 2001
The Hindustan Times
Mubashir Zaidi

Islamabad: Contrary to Pakistan's expectations, visiting Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji did not promise his country's full-fledged support to Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute. "We appreciate the position taken by Pakistan calling for peaceful settlement of this problem. We will try our utmost and will spare no effort for bringing a peaceful solution to the Kashmir problem," Zhu said while addressing a joint press conference with Pakistani Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf on Friday night. "I am confident the visit will go some way to bring about greater level of cooperation and peace and stability in the region," said the Chinese Prime Minister in his opening remarks. Later, addressing a banquet in his honour, Zhu said South Asia was an important component not only of Asia, but also of the whole world and peace and development in the region were vitally linked with the stability and prosperity of Asia and the world at large. He said China cared about the situation in South Asia. "China sincerely hopes that South Asia will be able to maintain peace and stability and that countries in the subcontinent can live together in peace and as equals politically, cooperate closely for common development economically, and together work in concert for a secure, harmonious and economically developing South Asia," he added. Zhu said this not only conformed to the common aspiration and fundamental interests of all peoples in the region, but also was beneficial to peace and stability in Asia and the world at large. "The Chinese side is ready to work together with all countries in South Asia, including Pakistan, and contribute our due share to realising this goal," he declared. Similarly, Pakistan's hopes of getting something "big" to boost its ailing economy were somewhat dashed when China signed "not so big" agreements on economic and technical cooperation, tourism cooperation, lease agreement on Saindak copper-gold project, supply of locomotives and passenger coaches to Pakistan Railways, white oil pipeline and MoU between ZTE and Pakistan Telecommunications Corporation Ltd. A couple of weeks ago, while inaugurating the news affairs channel of Radio Pakistan, Musharraf had announced that a "big" project equivalent to that of Karakoram Highway would be signed between China and Pakistan. But yesterday all that China promised was a grant of 50 million yuan for the promotion of economic and technical cooperation between the two countries, the lease agreement on Saindak copper-gold project with the Metallurgical Construction Corporation of China (MCC) to mine and process copper and gold ores at Saindak, supply of locomotives to Pakistan Railways and an agreement on white oil pipeline signed between PARCO and China Petroleum Engineering Construction Corporation (CPECC).


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