Once again, China has told America that the United States must respect Pakistani sovereignty and security concerns as they pertain to Afghanistan or else endanger “peace and stability,” reports Chinese state media.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called his Chinese counterpart Yang Jeichi, China’s state councilor of overseas foreign affairs, and discuss matters of regional affairs. Yang, who outranks the Chinese foreign minister, defended Pakistan after US President Donald Trump criticised Pakistan for harbouring anti US terrorists on its soil.
This was the second instance in as many days that China came to its ally’s (Pakistan) defense during the Tillerson/Yang call. “We must value Pakistan’s important role on the Afghanistan issue, and respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and reasonable security concerns,” Yang reportedly said.
Yang went on to tell Tillerson that China was willing to increase cooperation with the Americans in Afghanistan as a “joint effort to realize peace and stability”. This comes after Trump’s call on US allies and global partners to support his new strategy of focusing solely on obliterating terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, rather than nation-building.
On Thursday, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua met in Beijing and issued a joint statement where Wang praised Pakistan’s efforts against extremism, and reaffirmed China’s commitment to CPEC. “Given the current complicated and changing international and regional situation, the strategic significance of China-Pakistan relations is even more prominent,” Wang said.
Pakistan and China have consolidated their all-weather friendship in recent times, especially on the back of China Pakistan Economic Corridor – a project that is integral to China’s One Belt One Road flagship initiative.