December 2001 News

China not to support Musharraf''s Kashmir agenda

19 December 2001
The Times of India

BEIJING: China is expected to provide a liberal aid package of around $1.5 billion to its closest ally Pakistan on Thursday but may not support President Pervez Musharraf''s Kashmir agenda, diplomatic sources said here on Wednesday.''China''s stand on the Kashmir issue has not undergone any change,'' Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said ahead of Musharraf''s five-day state visit to China from Thursday.''We consistently advocate that a solution through peaceful dialogue should be found on questions left behind by history,'' Zhang said, while explaining the Chinese stand on the Kashmir issue.Diplomatic sources say China has shed its earlier pro-Pakistan stance on the Kashmir issue and taken a more balanced view on it, stressing that the vexed issue should be resolved bilaterally.China has also expressed ''shock'' and condemned the terrorist strike on Parliament House on December 13.Zhang told reporters on Tuesday that the Chinese government opposed and condemned any form of terrorist activity, and ''is against any country that launches terrorist attacks through organisations or individuals.''Diplomatic sources and media reports say that Pakistan may get around $1.5 billion package of bank deposits and investments from China. The package includes around $500 million of bank deposits, $50-100 million of credit, Rs 2 billion investment in a holding company, besides agreements on at least four power projects and mega Thar coal project, the sources said.Musharraf, who is leading a high-profile delegation, will meet Jiang and Premier Zhu Rongji here on Thursday.During official talks, the two sides are expected to have in-depth discussions on bilateral ties, regional and international issues of common concern, they said.Tension in South Asia, the Afghan issue and US-Pakistan relations would also figure prominently during the talks, they said.On Friday, Musharraf is scheduled to meet with China''s top legislator, Li Peng and vice president Hu Jintao.Before leaving for Xifan, the Chinese defence minister, General Chi Haotian and chief of the Chinese People''s Liberation Army (PLA), Gen. Fu Quanyou would call on Musharraf.China has stressed that its friendship with Pakistan would not suffer in the wake of far-reaching geopolitical changes that have occurred in the aftermath of the September 11 incident.Jiang has said that China and Pakistan are close neighbours with traditional friendship, and their friendship has withstood the test of time since the two countries forged diplomatic ties 50 years ago. The two countries have also established cooperative ties through mutual trust and support, and their friendship is deeply rooted in the hearts of both peoples, Jiang was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.Pakistan and China have maintained close consultation and cooperation following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, and have played a constructive role in promoting a reas onable solution of the Afghan issue, he said. ''China cherishes this friendship and values the development of the bilateral friendly and cooperative ties,'' Jiang said, adding that China is willing to give continued aid to Pakistan and promote the two-way trade and economic cooperation to benefit the two nations.The two sides are also expected to sign an agreement on rollover of three Chinese deposits worth $500 million the Chinese government had parked with the national bank of pakistan as balance of payment support for Pakistan, which is still facing a severe financial crunch.An agreement for the establishment of Pakistan-China joint holding company with a minimum paid-up capital of Rs 2 billion is expected to be signed.China''s export-import bank is expected to provide a credit line of $50 to 100 million to a Pakistani bank for the purchase of textile machinery and equipment from China by Pakistan.Pakistan would also be signing an agreement for the development of thar coal mine and setting up of a coal-fired power plant in Sindh.


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