January 2002 News

China rules out intervention in Kashmir issue yet again

10 January 2002
The Indian Express
Anil K. Joseph

Beijing: In a major setback to Pakistan''s diplomatic manoeuvring, China for the second time in as many days ruled out raising the Kashmir issue during Premier Zhu Rongji''s impending visit to India. ''As a friendly neighbour of India and Pakistan, what we can do is to hope that the two sides can maintain peace and we will not interfere in their issues,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said. Describing Kashmir as a question left over from history, he said it should be solved by the two countries through consultations and dialogue. ''On this point I have made it clear on many occasions that we will actively persuade the two countries to adopt measures to reduce the tension. In doing so, we believe that it is in the interest of the two countries,'' he told reporters here. ''It also serves regional and international peace and stability and the international fight against terrorism. It is of vital importance,'' he said. Sun stated that Zhu would not be carrying a special message to India during his maiden official visit from January 13-18. Asked about terrorism in Kashmir, Sun said ''as to the specific nature of terrorism in Kashmir, we are opposed to all forms of terrorism no matter where it is and who it is.” He added: ''We have emphasised that the fight against terrorism should be well-targeted and based on concrete evidence. It should not be linked with any specific religion.'' During a special background briefing on Wednesday, a senior Foreign Ministry official had stated that Beijing did not see itself in the role of peacemaker in the ongoing dispute between India and Pakistan. “China can mainly help bring about stability in the South Asia region through moral persuasion, trying to convince New Delhi and Islamabad to step back from the brink of war,'' Director-General of the Ministry''s Asian Department Fu Ying said.


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