China silent on trilateral, but wants India and Pakistan to cooperate
21 June 2018
China has distanced itself from the proposal for a trilateral meeting of India, China and Pakistan under the aegis of the SCO, but said New Delhi and Islamabad must find ways of strengthening dialogue and mutual trust.
Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui on Monday proposed the idea of a trilateral meeting of India, China and Pakistan under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), saying it could "in the future" help resolve bilateral issues between New Delhi and Islamabad and help maintain peace.(See: India-Pak issues are bilateral, MEA reminds Chinese envoy
Reports quoting Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang as saying that both India and Pakistan are China's friends and neighbours and want them to be at peace.
"We are willing to conduct relations with all our neighbours, including Pakistan and India, to strengthen our cooperation for better development and stability in this region. Without rejecting Lao’s idea, the spokesman said "what I said represents the official position of the Chinese side".
"We also hope India, Pakistan can strengthen their dialogue to improve mutual trust in their bilateral relations. This is in the interest of the regional countries," he said.
He also declined to answer a question on the Chinese embassy erasing the envoy's comments from the transcript posted on the website.
The Chinese envoy to India had also said that bilateral ties between India and China can't take the strain of another Dokalam episode and emphasised the need to find a "mutually acceptable solution" on the boundary issue through a meeting of Special Representatives.
Luo said "some Indian friends" had suggested trilateral cooperation comprising India, China and Pakistan under the aegis of the SCO, which was a "very constructive idea".
"Security cooperation is one of the three pillars of the SCO. Some Indian friends suggested that China, India and Pakistan may have some kind of trilateral cooperation under the SCO," he said in his keynote address on 'Beyond Wuhan: How Far and Fast can China-India Relations Go' at an event organised by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi.