On Thursday, China sought to defend the proposed bus service with Pakistan through PoK, saying that its cooperation with Islamabad has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and that it will not change its principled stance on the issue of Kashmir.
India said on Wednesday it had filed strong protests with China and Pakistan over the proposed bus service between the two countries through Pakistani-occupied Kashmir (PoK) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India said on Wednesday that the bus service will be a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.
Pakistan and China do not share a border. Pakistan’s only link with China is through the Gilgit-Baltistan region, occupied by Pakistan, which is part of Jammu and Kashmir. India and Afghanistan are the ones that share a border, now cut off by the energetic occupation of PoK in Pakistan.
According to reports from Pakistan, the new bus service will be launched between Lahore and Kashgar of China through Kashmir occupied by Pakistan on November 3. Apparently, the launch coincides with the inaugural visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, to China as of Friday.
When asked about India’s protest, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware of India’s diplomatic protest. “But on the issue of Kashmir, China’s position is clear, we make it clear many times,” he said.
China’s position, he said, is that “cooperation between China and Pakistan has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and will not affect China’s position of principle over Kashmir,” he said.
China maintains that the question of Kashmir must be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan through dialogue and consultation.
He defended the CPEC of 60 billion dollars and said that it is a project of economic cooperation between China and Pakistan. “It is not directed against third parties,” he said.
The CPEC involves a large number of projects that connect the Chinese province of Xinjiang with the Pakistani port of Gwadar in the province of Balochistan.