Pak, China discuss new US policy in Afghanistan, South Asia

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Islamabad: Pakistan and China today discussed the new US policy in Afghanistan and South Asia and agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and closely work in various multilateral fora.

This was decided during the 8th Round of Strategic Dialogue between the two sides in Islamabad, where Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua led the Pakistani delegation, while the Chinese side was led by Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou.

The Foreign Office said both sides held comprehensive discussions on the entire spectrum of bilateral ties. These included: the Belt and Road Initiative and specifically, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; bilateral trade; defence; counter-terrorism; culture and people-to-people exchanges.

“The two sides also agreed to further strengthen cooperation in all mutually relevant areas for the benefit of the two countries,” it said.

Janjua and Kong also exchanged views on issues including the situation in Afghanistan, the new US policy in South Asia and matters relating to the Korean Peninsula.

US President Donald Trump announced his Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August in which he had hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to “agents of chaos” that kill Americans in Afghanistan and warned Islamabad that it has “much to lose” by harbouring terrorists.

He also slammed Pakistan for its support to terror groups and warned Islamabad of consequences if it continues to do so.

China had defended its all-weather ally Pakistan, saying that Islamabad is at the frontline of combating terrorism.

During the meeting, Janjua also raised the Kashmir issue.

China and Pakistan agreed to further augment cooperation in various multilateral fora including the UN, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other multilateral organizations.

The two sides reiterated their commitments to strengthen and enhance bilateral mutual cooperation in all fields including political, security and economic issues, and to further coordinate on issues of regional and international significance.

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