China and Pakistan are “good brothers” and “good partners”, President Xi Jinping said on Friday adding that the economic corridor between the countries, which passes through territory claimed by India, holds great importance in forging closer ties between Beijing and Islamabad.
In a recorded message addressed to his Pakistani counterpart, Arif Alvi, Xi said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), “a landmark project” under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is of “great importance to promoting in-depth development of the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and forging a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future”.
New Delhi has consistently opposed the CPEC as it passes through Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir; Beijing has paid little attention to New Delhi’s serious reservations about the CPEC and has pumped in money and resources in building infrastructure projects under the flagship economic corridor.
The CPEC is among the new irritants and concerns for New Delhi in its ties with Beijing, which China has refused to address, arguing it is only an economic project.
Xi’s effusive message for Alvi was released at the end of the two-day 2nd China-Pakistan foreign ministers’ strategic dialogue held in the southern Chinese province of Hainan on Friday.
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi co-hosted the meet.
In his message to Alvi, Xi was effusive about ties between the two “iron brothers” – a phrase often repeated by both countries to describe the snug bilateral ties.
Xi said he appreciates that Alvi sent a congratulatory letter to the opening of the Second Conference of the CPEC Political Parties Joint Consultation Mechanism, which fully demonstrated that Alvi attaches great importance to and supports the China-Pakistan relationship and construction of the CPEC.
The consultation was held simultaneously with the foreign ministers’ dialogue.
The official news agency Xinhua released Xi’s statement.
“China and Pakistan are good