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China aims to 'bridge differences'

By MO JINGXI/ZHOU JIN | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-09 06:19

Three-way foreign ministers' meetings to be held with Pakistan, Afghanistan

China, Pakistan and Afghanistan will hold their first joint foreign ministers' meeting this year as a way to establish a new platform for regional cooperation.

"Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are important countries in the region. Cooperation will benefit both while confrontation can only hurt," Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday in a joint news conference in Beijing with Khawaja Asif, his Pakistani counterpart. Asif embarked on his first trip abroad on Friday after being appointed foreign minister last month.

"China values its relations with both countries and is working to help bridge the differences between them," Wang said. He said strategic communication, practical cooperation and security talks will be three key areas of discussion at the first trilateral foreign ministers' meeting.

Last month, US President Donald Trump decided to deploy more soldiers to Afghanistan and alleged that "Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror".

Wang said both China and Pakistan hope the US strategy will help Afghanistan reach long-lasting peace and stability while considering the reasonable security concerns of regional countries.

"Terrorism is a global issue, and requires joint efforts from all. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, all sides should work together in a concerted way," he said.

Wang defended Pakistan's anti-terrorism efforts, saying that the huge sacrifices of the country's government and its people in the fight against terrorism "are obvious to all".

"Global society should fully recognize it... and some countries should give Pakistan the credit it deserves," he said.

"Pakistan is China's good brother and ironclad friend. No other country could understand Pakistan better than China," Wang added.

Asif thanked China for firmly supporting the country in maintaining its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Pakistan will, as usual, stand with China on issues that involve China's core interests," he said.

Asif added that his country will continue to fight the East Turkestan Islamic Movement terror organization and help maintain the security of both countries.

Tang Mengsheng, director of the Pakistan Studies Center of Peking University, said that Pakistan is a victim of terrorism and the international community should impartially evaluate its efforts.

"China, Pakistan and Afghanistan should push forward economic cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, thus helping to eliminate terrorism," he said.

Zhou Jin contributed to this story.

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