China on Thursday voiced its opposition to India's reported plans to hold the next year's meeting of G-20 leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, echoing close ally Pakistan's objection, and underlined that relevant sides should avoid "unilateral moves" that may "complicate" the situation.
"We have noted this latest development," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a media briefing in Beijing on Thursday while replying to a question from the official media.
"China's position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear-cut. The Kashmir issue, a dispute left from the past, should be peacefully and properly addressed in accordance with the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreement," Zhao said.
He said the "parties concerned need to avoid unilateral moves that may complicate the situation. Efforts should be made to settle the dispute through dialogue and consultation so as to maintain regional peace and stability."
Stating that the G20 is a premier forum for international economic and financial cooperation, Zhao said, "we call on all major economies to focus on steady recovery of the world economy, avoid politicising relevant cooperation and make positive contributions to improving global economic governance."
Asked whether China, a member of G20, would attend the meeting to be held in 2023, he said, "We will look at whether China will attend the meeting."
To another question that China is building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the disputed region in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and India's objections over it, Zhao said the "two matters are completely different in nature. China has undertaken some projects in Pakistan to help it grow its economy and improve people's livelihood."
"These projects are in Pakistan-occupied areas of Kashmir," Zhao said, perhaps a rare occasion when China has described PoK in this way.
"Relevant Chinese companies conduct the relevant projects with the purpose of helping Pakistan to develop its economy and improve people's livelihood," he said.
"This does not affect China's position on the Kashmir issue," he underlined.
On June 25, Pakistan said it rejected India's attempt to hold a meeting of G20 countries in Kashmir, hoping that members of the grouping will be fully cognisant of the imperatives of law and justice and would oppose the proposal outright.
Jammu and Kashmir will be hosting the 2023 meetings of G-20, an influential grouping that brings together the world's major economies, with the union territory administration last Thursday setting up a five-member high-level committee for overall coordination.
This will be the first major international summit expected to be held in Jammu and Kashmir after its special status guaranteed under Article 370 of the Constitution was withdrawn and the erstwhile state was divided into two union territories in August 2019.
Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said in a statement that Islamabad had taken note of news items appearing in the Indian media indicating that India might be contemplating to hold some G20-related meeting in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Pakistan completely rejects any such attempt by India," Ahmad said.
He said it was a well-known fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory between Pakistan and India, and has remained on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council for over seven decades.
He hoped that in case of any such controversial proposal from India, the G20 members will be fully cognisant of the imperatives of law and justice and would reject it outright.