BEIJING: The United States must value Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan and respect its security concerns, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a phone call, according to Chinese state media.
“We must value Pakistan’s important role on the Afghanistan issue, and respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and reasonable security concerns,” Yang told Tillerson. China’s Foreign Ministry defended its ally Pakistan earlier this week after President Donald Trump said the United States could no longer be silent about militants using safe havens on Pakistani soil.
Yang, who outranks China’s foreign minister, told Tillerson that China was willing to coordinate with the United States on Afghanistan and make joint efforts to realise peace and stability there and in the region, according to a Chinese statement issued late that night.
China and Pakistan consider each other “all-weather friends” and have close diplomatic, economic and security ties.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Pakistani Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua in Beijing on Tuesday. He praised Pakistan’s efforts to combat extremism and to secure the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a development initiative central to President Xi Jinping’s global Belt and Road development plan.
“Given the current complicated and changing international and regional situation, the strategic significance of China-Pakistan relations is even more prominent,” Wang said.