Pakistan has reaffirmed Islamabad’s stance against any foreign actors seeking to undermine ally China’s sovereignty and thanked Beijing for its support on national security.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry issued the statement after the China’s State Commissioner for Counter-terrorism and Security Cheng Guoping met Tariq Fatemi, special assistant to the prime minister on foreign affairs, in Islamabad Monday, reports Dawn.
In response, the Chinese official noted that Beijing “attaches great importance to its relations with Pakistan and supports its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”
The Chinese state commissioner for counter-terrorism also “thanked Pakistan for its consistent support to China on issues of core interest and lauded the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan and its security forces in its fight against terrorism, extremism and separatism, which has helped maintain regional peace and stability,” notes Dawn.
The autonomous Chinese province of Xinjiang, a volatile region that is home to the country’s largest concentration of the Muslim Uighur minority and a separatist movement, borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The meeting between China and Pakistan came after an annual report to Congress issued by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission late last year reported that the increasing Islamic terrorism threat facing China is prompting the communist country to question its military assistance to Pakistan.
According to the commission, the majority of Chinese Islamic extremist attacks originate in Pakistan. Despite that assessment, the relationship between China and Pakistan appears to remain strong.
“Pakistan will continue to support China’s efforts to combat the three evils of terrorism, extremism and separatism,” the Islamabad-based foreign ministry said in the statement.
The Pakistani foreign ministry official also assured Beijing of Islamabad’s “support for China on all core issues, adding that Pakistan stands firm against any attempt by foreign actors to undermine China’s sovereignty,” points out Dawn.
The primary purpose of Chinese assistance to Pakistan is to contain the rise of their mutual rival India, notes the U.S. commission.
Both Pakistan and China consider India to be their rival. The three neighboring nuclear powers have competing claims to the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir.
In a recent editorial, Chinese state-run Global Times warned that Beijing “will not sit still if India goes too far” with “its missile fever” and condemned New Delhi for allegedly “breaking” United Nations “limits on its development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile” following a missile test by India.
Nevertheless, the Chinese government has held military drills with India.
So far, Beijing has managed to remain in the shadows of the recent deadly clashes in Kashmir between Pakistan and India.
Economically and militarily, the Chinese government is currently more powerful than India and Islamabad.
However, although the United States, China, and the United Kingdom still hold the top three defense budgets in the world, respectively, India has now pushed Russia out of the fourth spot.