China sends Vice Foreign Minister to Pak to discuss Indo-Pak tensions
Beijing: China said Wednesday that it has despatched Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou to Islamabad to discuss the Indo-Pak tensions following the Pulwama attack.
"He (Kong) is now visiting Pakistan. He is in communication with Pakistan on the India-Pakistan situation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing here.
Tensions escalated between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack in Kashmir which killed 40 CRPF personnel and was claimed by Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
After the suicide attack, India carried out air strikes against the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot in Pakistan on February 26. In the operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for suicide attacks were killed.
The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial confrontation and captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was handed over to India on Friday.
"His visit is designed for communication with Pakistan for the situation concerning both India and Pakistan. China has been promoting peace and stability in this region. We hope that Pakistan and India will maintain friendly relations," Lu said.
Hours after India's Balakot airstrike, China, which has good diplomatic ties with Islamabad, urged India and Pakistan to "exercise restraint" and asked New Delhi to carry out its fight against terrorism through international cooperation.
"We have taken note of the relevant reports. I want to say that India and Pakistan are both important countries in South Asia. A sound relationship and cooperation between the two serves the interests of both the countries and peace and stability in South Asia," Lu had said.
On Wednesday, he said Pakistan has been making efforts to combat terrorism.
"In fact, Pakistan has been making efforts and exercised policies to combat terrorism. We think we should encourage this. We also hope relevant parties will create an enabling atmosphere to help Pakistan to cooperate with other parties to form synergy," Lu said.
To a question on whether Kong would visit India too, Lu said "China is in contact with India and Pakistan concerning the current circumstances".