China has defended its decision to go before the UN Security Council (UNSC) to seek an informal third review of the vexed dispute between Pakistan and India over Kashmir this month. It had earlier sought similar reviews in August and December 2019.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media, including outlets from India, on Friday that China wants both Islamabad and New Delhi to get back to the negotiating table to discuss all issues over which both have a dispute, exercise restraint on borders dividing their nations as well as in communication and take steps to restore normalcy in South Asia.
Beijing is keen to constructively engage with both India and Pakistan purely out of goodwill, Shuang further said, adding that any solution of the Kashmir dispute should take place according to relevant UNSC resolutions and bilateral treaties.
He said UNSC members did flag their concerns about the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir during their 15 January meeting in New York and called on both India and Pakistan to settle the political issue peacefully and with restraint.
“China’s position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear. This issue is a dispute left from history and it should be properly resolved following the UN Charter, through relevant resolutions", Shuang maintained, adding that both Islamabad and New Delhi needed to respect international law to ensure a proper settlement.
On Wednesday, China placed a demand for an informal discussion on the Kashmir issue in the UNSC on behalf of “all-weather ally” Pakistan. A majority of UNSC members, including the China pushed for “closed door UNSC meetings” on Kashmir in August and December 2019, but was foiled by the four other veto power holding nations – US, the UK, France, and Russia -- however, rejected Beijing’s plea, saying it was for India and Pakistan to resolve the issue bilaterally.
China has consistently objected to New Delhi’s decision to alter the geographical identity of Jammu and Kashmir through an act of Parliament and bifurcate the erstwhile state into two territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh -- to be administered by the Indian government.
China feels New Delhi might intend to reclaim its right over the inhospitable Aksai Chin region, an area of about 37,244 square kilometres, which it has controlled since the end of the Sino-Indian War of 1962. Beijing has declared Aksai Chin to be a part of its Xinjiang and Tibet autonomous regions, while New Delhi says it forms the eastern-most part of the union territory of Ladakh.