China awaits Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for ‘important’ Beijing tour

  • Khawaja Asif's tour would be important in the backdrop of Trump's Afghan policy and BRICS declaration
  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi would also be meeting Pakistani official

ISLAMABAD – The government of China is eagerly waiting for the tour of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, who is due to arrive in Beijing on Friday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang while addressing a press conference on Wednesday said that Asif’s visit would further advance the implementation of the cooperation consensus reached between the leaders of the two countries.

“It will also deepen across-the-board practical cooperation centered on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and promote communication and coordination on international and regional affairs between the two countries,” said Shuang.

The official confirmed that besides other leaders, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with him.

Asif, who was recently appointed as foreign minister under Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi would be visiting Pakistan’s closest ally in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s Afghan policy but his tour becomes more pivotal after the declaration of BRICS that named terror outfits allegedly based in Pakistan and called for eradicating them.

On the other hand, China has vehemently denied that Pakistan was targeted on the issue of counter-terrorism in any manner whatsoever in the joint declaration issued at the end of the BRICS summit.

Pakistan’s name was not even mentioned in the text of the declaration. There is no question of any change in China’s consistent policy supporting Pakistan on counter-terrorism, said Chinese diplomatic sources here on Wednesday.

It is relevant to mention that although Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir rejected the BRICS declaration, even then the 43-page statement coupled militant groups like TTP with banned outfits allegedly based in Pakistan.

“We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIS…Al Qaeda and its affiliates, including Eas­tern Turkistan Islamic Move­ment, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Jaish-i-Mohammad, TTP and Hizbut Tahrir,” the leaders said in the declaration.

India welcomed the move as an important step forward in the fight against militant attacks.

India’s media said naming the allegedly Pakistan-based groups in the BRICS resolution was an important win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration which at last year’s summit called Pakistan the “mother ship of terrorism”.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa make up the BRICS but China’s presence in the group and a signatory of declaration makes it difficult to simply ignore the announcement which is visibly reminiscent of what Donald Trump said last month.