China on Tuesday called for talks between India and Pakistan to resolve the conflict over Jammu and Kashmir, The Hindu reported. This came after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in his United Nations General Assembly address last month that the matter should be resolved according to “UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreement”.

“China’s position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Tuesday at a press briefing. “We call upon India and Pakistan to enhance dialogue and consultation on issues including Kashmir and consolidate mutual trust. This is in line with the interests of both countries and common aspirations of the world.”

The official visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India and Nepal is expected to be formally announced on Wednesday. He will be visiting Mamallapuram in Chennai for an India-China informal summit.

Gheng said China and India were both developing nations with emerging markets on the question of whether Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Beijing would have any bearing on Xi’s visit to India. The spokesperson also noted last year’s informal summit between Modi and Xi, and said there had been “good momentum in our bilateral relations and we have been advancing our cooperation and properly managing differences and sensitive issues”.

Imran Khan is currently on a three-day visit to China. He is likely to be present at the closing ceremony of the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition on Wednesday, according to The Indian Express.

The spokesperson said China attached great importance to Khan’s visit and said he will meet with the Chinese president, Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Chairman Li Zhanshu, Hindustan Times reported. Gheng also added that China and Pakistan were “all weather strategic partners”.

Following China’s statement at the General Assembly session, India had responded saying that the country was well-aware that the conflict in Kashmir was an entirely internal matter. “We expect that other countries will respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and desist from efforts to change the status quo through the illegal so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” the External Affairs ministry had said.

New Delhi has repeatedly raised concerns about the corridor as it travels through parts of Kashmir that are occupied by Pakistan. CPEC is an integral part of Beijing’s $900 billion One Belt, One Road, later renamed Belt and Road Initiative, which was unveiled in 2013. The corridor connects Kashgar in western China with Gwadar port in Pakistan.

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