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Updated 10:35 AM EDT, Thu, Apr 18, 2019

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Beijing: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor not Targeted Aganist India

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

(Photo : getty images.) China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has told a leading Indian newspaper that the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is not targeted against India, but strengthening China-pak economic cooperation.

China has again reiterated that the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is not targeted against India, but strengthening the economic cooperation. 

The assurance comes amid the reported spiralling tension between India and Pakistan following the recent  Uri attack.

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"China's programmes in the region aim at boosting the local economy and improving the people's well-being.... It neither concerns any third party nor is it attacking the position of any side on the issue," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFC) told Hindustan Times in a written statement.

Irrespective of India's opposition to the project, "the CPEC has gradually stepped from primary planning to the full operational phase," the statement added.

It was further emphasized that the CPEC will not just fulfil common development of Pakistan and China, but also positively contribute to peace and economic development of entire region.

The MFC also claimed that several countries have expressed their interest to join the project, with media reports last week confirming that Iran wants to become part of the CPEC.

In the past, India has expressed reservation on the $48 billion CPEC project on several occasions, mainly because the corridor passes through Pakistani-occupied Kashmir (POK) that is located only few kilometres away from Indian Kashmir. The northern Himalayan region of Kashmir is the main bone of contention between India and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the MFC's statement commented on the Kashmir dispute as well.

"The sovereignty of the Kashmir region has been a historical problem between India and Pakistan and should be appropriately settled through bilateral talks and negotiations," it noted.

The clarification comes barely days after a top Chinese diplomat assured Pakistan of unilateral support on Kashmir dispute and also promised Islamabad of unequivocal support in case of any foreign aggression. 

Among the objectives of the China-Pakistan Economic Cooperation is to strengthen the economic ties of the two countries.

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