CPEC has nothing to do with territorial disputes: China trashes US claim

CPEC has nothing to do with territorial disputes: China trashes US claim

SAM Report,
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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has dismissed United States (US) criticism that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through disputed territory, the Economic Times reported. The $56 billion project passes through Pakistan’s northern areas, which India claims is part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir territory.

US Defence Sec­retary James Mattis told a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week that the One Belt, One Road “goes through disputed territory, and I think that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday told the Press Trust of India: “We have repeatedly reiterated that the CPEC is an economic cooperation initiative that is not directed against third parties and has nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes and does not affect China’s principled stance on the Kashmir issue.”

Also Read: The US-Sino great game: Washington embraces Indian position on CPEC

It added that over 70 countries and international organisations, including the United Nations (UN) General Assembly and UN Security Council, have signed cooperation agreements with Beijing on the OBOR initiative and incorporated it into important resolutions.

Pakistan has also dismissed the US reservations over CPEC, asserting that it is a “development and connectivity project for the betterment of the people in the region and beyond”.

“The international community should [instead] focus on human rights violations and heinous crimes committed by Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Kashmir,” read a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Saturday.

The new US position on CPEC has put further strain on already tense rel­ations between the US and Pakistan, which also opposed the greater role Washington has assigned to India in Afghanistan in a strategy President Trump announced on Aug 21.

Pakistan dismisses US concerns on CPEC, urges world to focus on India’s atrocities in Kashmir

Meanwhile, Pakistan responding to the reservations raised by US over the China-Pakistan Econo­mic Corridor (CPEC), Islamabad on Saturday asserted that “CPEC is a development and connectivity project for the betterment of the people in the region and beyond”, and urged the international community to rather focus on the human rights violations committed by Indian forces in held Kashmir.

Earlier, the Trump administration had informed Congress that it too believes the CPEC passes through a disputed territory — originally an India claim aimed at thwarting the development plan.

The $56 billion CPEC passes through Pakis­t­an’s northern areas, which India claims is part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir territory.

“The One Belt, One Road also goes through disputed territory, and I think that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate,” US Defence Sec­retary James Mattis had told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“The international community should focus on human rights violations and heinous crimes committed by Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Kashmir,” read a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Saturday.

Secretary Mattis and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Joseph Dun­­­ford ap­­peared before the Sen­ate and House armed services panel earlier this week to brief US lawmakers on the current situation in the Pak-Afghan region.

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Secretary Mattis said the US oppo­sed the One Belt, One Road policy in principle because in a globalised world, there were many belts and many roads, and no one nation shou­­ld put itself into a position of dictating One Belt, One Road. And it opposed the one going through Pakistan also because it passed throu­­gh a disputed territory.

The new US position on CPEC will further strain already tense rel­ations between the US and Pakistan, which also opposed the greater role Washington has assigned to India in Afghanistan in a strategy President Trump announced on Aug 21.

“As far as Afghan­is­tan goes, as we try to separate out variables where, in some areas, we work with China, for example, terrorism — I think there are areas where we can work — find common ground with China when it comes to counterterrorism, and we should exercise those areas pretty fully,” said the US defence chief.

“But we should be under no illusions,” he warned. “There are areas where, also, strategically, we need to confront China where we think it’s unproductive — the direction they’re going in.”

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