China today sought to defend the proposed bus-service with Pakistan through PoK, saying its cooperation with Pakistan has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and will not change its principled stance on the Kashmir issue.
India yesterday lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan over the bus service between the two countries through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
Backstory: Bus service to be launched between Lahore and Kashgar
Launching strong protests yesterday, India's Ministry of External Affairs said the bus service will be a violation of India's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
According to reports from Pakistan, the bus service, to be launched on November 3, will ply between Lahore (Pakistan) and Kashgar (China) via PoK.
Its inauguration apparently is coinciding with Pakistan PM Imran Khan's maiden visit to China starting tomorrow.
China says Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally through dialogue
Asked about India's protest, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said he wasn't aware of India's stand on the proposed bus service.
But "cooperation between China and Pakistan has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and will not affect China's principled position on Kashmir," he emphasized, adding China maintains that Kashmir issue should be resolved between India and Pakistan through dialogue and consultation.
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CPEC is not targeted against any third party: Kang
Kang defended the $60bn CPEC, saying that it is an economic cooperation project between China and Pakistan. "It is not targeted against any third party," he said. The CPEC involves a host of projects connecting China's Xinjiang province with Pakistan's Gwadar port in Balochistan province.