China downplays cancellation of Xi's Pakistan visit

Downplaying reports of cancellation of Chinese President Xi Jinping's maiden Pakistan visit, China Friday said the trip was never officially announced.

PTI| Updated: Sep 05, 2014, 16:21 PM IST

Beijing: Downplaying reports of cancellation of Chinese President Xi Jinping's maiden Pakistan visit, China Friday said the trip was never officially announced.

"We have never officially released any information about Xi's visit to Pakistan. Therefore there is no ground for you to say that we have cancelled the trip," Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told a media briefing here.

Qin made the remarks while responding to a question on Xi calling off the visit due to security considerations in the wake of ongoing anti-government protests in Pakistan.

Though officially not announced, Xi was due to visit Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India in that order in the middle of this month.

Hectic preparations are underway for his India visit which is expected to be in third week of this month.

"China and Pakistan are friendly neighbours. We enjoy all weather friendship and cooperation in various fields. The two countries maintain close high level interactions. With regard to issues concerning high level visits between the two countries in the next step we are in close communication," Qin said.

China has already appealed twice to Pakistan government and protesting parties to settle their differences through dialogue.

Qin again appealed for political reconciliation in Pakistan to maintain domestic stability.

"We hope all relevant parties in Pakistan to make joint efforts to uphold domestic stability," he said.

Two days ago, Qin played down the reports of Xi contemplating cancelling the visit.

"As regards what has been mentioned in reports about President Xi's visit, I have no information to offer at the moment," Qin had said.

Protests have put Pakistan government under pressure. The protesters headed by Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri have alleged vote rigging in last year's general election and are demanding Prime Minister Sharif's resignation.

Khan wants the ruling PML-N government's ouster over alleged rigging in last year's polls which his party lost, while Qadri wants to bring a revolution in the country. Both the leaders are agitating since August 14.