Playing down reports that it was behind the detention of JuD chief Hafeez Saeed, China today said it is sending a top official to Pakistan for talks on counter terrorism amid mounting pressure on Islamabad from India, Afghanistan and the US to rein in militant groups.
Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping will visit Pakistan for talks on counter terrorism, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing here while replying to a question whether the talks would include a discussion on militant groups in Pakistan and concerns of Afghanistan and India.
While Lu did not provide any details, Cheng is expected to be in Islamabad from February 6 to 9.
Lu also gave a guarded reply to a question whether China was behind Pakistan’s sudden move to detain JuD chief and the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Saeed.
While his house arrest was attributed to ward off pressure from US President Donald Trump, some Pakistani media reports said pressure from China prompted Islamabad to act against Saeed.
Lu said “for a long time Pakistan has made enormous efforts and sacrifices on counter terrorism”.
“China supports the independent strategies made by Pakistan in counter terrorism and engage in international cooperation on counter terrorism,” he said hinting that Saeed’s detention was Pakistan’s own decision.
“China supports international cooperation on counter terrorism. We consistently maintain that such cooperation should be based on mutual respect,” he said.
China is set to host a major international summit in May this year on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, a multi billion dollar initiative to revive Silk Road. China wants maximum participation including from India and the US.
Lu said leaders of 20 countries expressed interests to attend the conference but gave no details.