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December 21, 2001
1737 IST

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China offers to mediate between India and Pak

Anil K Joseph in Beijing

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Friday asked China to use its 'influence' in finding a solution to the Kashmir issue even as China offered to mediate between India and Pakistan to ease tension in the region heightened by the attack on the Indian Parliament.

Addressing a select gathering of newspaper editors, scholars and policy makers at a breakfast meeting in Beijing, Musharraf said there is a 'high degree of tension' between the two nuclear states and warned this would further escalate if the 'root cause' of the problem was not addressed properly.

Meanwhile, a Chinese foreign ministry official Sun Guoxiang while briefing newspersons on Friday about the outcome of the summit meeting between Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in Beijing on Thursday evening, said they discussed the tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.

"If China has any role to play, we will help relaxation of tensions and improvement of relations between India and Pakistan," said Sun, adding "But the key to the question is for the two countries to solve their dispute in a peaceful manner."

He added that China insists the initiative for improving bilateral ties should come from the two countries themselves.

The official said Jiang stressed China's desire to see a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue.

Sun said relaxation of tensions and improvement of relations between India and Pakistan not only serves the interests of both countries, but will also contribute to peace and stability in South Asia.

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