China on Friday urged India and Pakistan to transform a crisis into an opportunity, PTI reported. Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during a press conference on the sidelines of a session of China’s Parliament, the National People’s Congress, said Beijing hopes the rival nations will replace confrontation with dialogue.
Wang said his government hopes India and Pakistan settle disagreements with goodwill and welcomed the “willingness expressed by the two countries” to reduce tensions, Xinhua reported. “China has stressed from the beginning the need to exercise calm and restraint and prevent escalation,” Wang said.
“We advise both the parties to quickly turn the page and seek fundamental, long term improvement in their relations,” Wang said. When confrontation gives way to dialogue and disagreements are settled, we can create a better future through cooperation.”
He confirmed his country’s mediation efforts to de-escalate hostilities between New Delhi and Islamabad. Wang stressed the importance of respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity, The Hindu reported. “China has followed these principles in its mediation efforts, and played a constructive role in defusing tensions,” he said.
On Thursday, China praised Pakistan for “remaining calm and exercising restraint” at a time when tensions were high with India. On Wednesday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou visited Pakistan and met several senior officials, including Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The Chinese official also expressed hope that ties with India “will surge ahead like the Yangtze and the Ganges, giving strong and sustained impetus to our relationship.”
The statements came as there has been a rise in global pressure on Pakistan to act against terrorist groups within the country, following the February 14 suicide bomb attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Forty CRPF personnel died in the attack, which was claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Pakistan is also under pressure from the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing. Last year, the task force had put the country on its watchlist in an effort to push Pakistan to halt support for terror groups.
Firing across the border has escalated amid tensions between the two countries following the cross-border strikes conducted by the Indian Air Force on February 26. Both countries engaged in aerial skirmishes the next day, and Pakistan captured IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, after his fighter jet was shot down. Varthaman was later released.