China on Wednesday said the raging political crisis in Islamabad will not affect the overall cooperation between the all-weather allies as well as the projects under the $60 billion so-called CPEC.
A wary China has been keeping a close watch on the recent rapid political developments in Pakistan, leading to the dissolution of parliament over Prime Minister Imran Khan’s allegation of the US hand behind Opposition parties’ no-confidence motion against him.
The opposition parties in Pakistan moved the Supreme Court to adjudicate the legality of the dissolution of parliament and the declaration of fresh elections.
When asked for his reaction to the political and constitutional crisis in Pakistan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing that while the political situation may not affect Beijing’s close ties with Islamabad, he hoped that parties will close ranks to stay united for the development and stability of the country.
“China always follows the principle of non-interference in other countries domestic affairs,” he said.
“China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners. History has proven once again that no matter how the international landscape may evolve, and how our respective domestic situations may change, China and Pakistan relations will always stand unbreakable and rock-solid,” Zhao said.
“We believe that the overall China-Pakistan cooperation and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) construction will not be affected by the political situation in Pakistan. As an ironclad friend of Pakistan, we hope all parties in the country can stay united and jointly uphold national development and stability,” he said.
Under the $60 billion CPEC which connects Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan province to China’s Xinjiang, China is building a host of infrastructure projects. India has protested to China over the CPEC, the flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as it traverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
This is the second time China has commented on the political crisis in Pakistan.
In the run-up to the tabling of the no-confidence motion by Pakistan’s opposition parties last week, China March 31 had made an appeal to all the political parties to close ranks in the interest of stability and development.
Observers say that China may not be unduly concerned about the crisis as Beijing sees the Pakistan military as the cornerstone of its “ironclad” ties with Islamabad.