China says Sino-Pak strategic ties not directed against anyone

Amid concerns voiced by India over China`s plans to have a rail link with Pakistan through the Karakoram ranges, Beijing on Thursday said the Sino-Pak "strategic" partnership was not aimed at targeting any third country.

Last Updated: Jul 08, 2010, 18:43 PM IST

Beijing: Amid concerns voiced by India over
China`s plans to have a rail link with Pakistan through the
Karakoram ranges, Beijing on Thursday said the Sino-Pak "strategic"
partnership was not aimed at targeting any third country.

"China and Pakistan are strategic partners enjoying
profound traditional friendship. We have shared deepening
cooperation across the board," Foreign office spokesman Qing
Gang said at a press briefing while evading a direct response
to a query about reports of the proposed rail link through the
disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region.
"Our cooperation is traditionally beneficial and not
targeted against any third country. Such cooperation is not
only beneficial for the two countries but also great for the
peace and prosperity of the region," he said.

According to reports in the past, Pakistan had awarded a
USD 1.2 million contract to an international consortium to
conduct a feasibility study for the 750-km rail line in 2007.

As per the past proposal, China would lay the track up to
Khujerab.

The proposed rail link is a matter of concern to India as
it passes through some of the disputed areas forming part of
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said in New Delhi
that "we are closely watching what is happening".

Earlier, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju
said on the issue that it is definitely a matter of concern.
"But we are taking our counter measures and we are doing our
own preparation."

Asked to provide details of the proposed rail link, Qing
only said that China and Pakistan signed agreements for
economic cooperation, transportation, energy, etc after the
talks between President Hu Jintao and his visiting Pakistani
counterpart Asif Ali Zardari.
"Yesterday, during the talks between the leaders of the
two countries, the two sides exchanged broad and in-depth
views on deepening bilateral strategic partnership of
cooperation and both sides agreed to continue to deepen
cooperation in the fields of economic cooperation,
transportation, energy, etc," Qing said.

On whether any agreement about China`s plans to build two
new nuclear reactors for Pakistan was signed, he said that
pacts in areas such as public health, agriculture and media
were inked but declined to say anything on the atomic deal.

To a question about assertions by Zardari`s Press
Secretary, Faratullah Babar, that an agreement relating to the
two nuclear reactors was signed during the Pakistan
President`s last year visit here, Qing said he has already
replied to questions about the pacts signed yesterday.

Zardari today also met Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
He is due to leave for Shanghai tomorrow.

PTI