BEIJING – The Chinese Foreign Ministry has dismissed United States’ criticism that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through disputed territory, The Economic Times reported.

The $56 billion project passes through Pakistan’s northern areas, which India claims is part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir territory.

US Defence Sec­retary James Mattis told a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week that the One Belt, One Road “goes through disputed territory, and I think that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday told the Press Trust of India (PTI): “We have repeatedly reiterated that the CPEC is an economic cooperation initiative that is not directed against third parties and has nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes and does not affect China’s principled stance on the Kashmir issue.”

More than 70 countries and international organisations which have signed cooperation agreements with China on OBOR, including the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council, have incorporated it in their important resolutions, it said.

US comes out publicly against CPEC for the first time, says it passes through ‘disputed territory’