China Declines To Back Pervez On Kashmir
5 November 2003
Beijing: Failing to get explicit Chinese support for his intransigent Kashmir stance, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf concluded his visit to China on Wednesday after obtaining assurances from the new Chinese leadership on safeguarding Pakistan's 'sovereignty and territorial integrity'. 'The Chinese side reaffirms that it respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan, and appreciates and supports the efforts of Pakistan for peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues with neighbours and to safeguard its state sovereignty and independence,' the first-ever joint declaration between the two countries said. The stress on Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the joint declaration assumes significance in the wake of statements by top Indian leaders that India would take back the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), analysts said. However, on the Kashmir issue, the only public statement General Musharraf elicited from the new Chinese leadership was during the meeting on Monday with President Hu Jintao. 'China will, as always, support the reconciliation between Pakistan and India and continue to play a constructive role in promoting peace, security and stability in South Asia,' Hu, also general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (cpc), said. Other than that, the joint declaration mentions that China 'appreciates and supports' Pakistan's efforts to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues with neighbours. China's state-run media also avoided publishing General Musharraf's rhetoric on Kashmir on Tuesday at the Peking University, indicating that Beijing did not want to take sides on the sensitive issue. Analysts view this changed mood in Beijing as a reflection of China's new pragmatic foreign policy of not taking sides in the India-Pakistan war of words. Moreover, analysts also feel that China would not like to retard the positive momentum in Sino-Indian relations as a result of the successful visit of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in June. General Musharraf seems to have suffered a setback on signing the deal on the much-talked about second phase of the Chashma nuclear power plant. Both sides failed to ink the agreement during the trip, which could have been a major highlight of the visit of the Pakistani President.