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Ahead of Narendra Modi-Xi Jinping meet, China says relations with Pakistan are 'as firm as ever'

Beijing: China on Monday reassured Pakistan that relations between the two countries were as firm as ever and would “never rust”, ahead of a meeting this week between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi that could unnerve Islamabad.

Wang Yi and Khawaja Asif

File image of Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif. Reuters

China and Pakistan like to call each other “all-weather friends” and their traditionally close ties have long been viewed with suspicion by Pakistan’s neighbour and traditional enemy, India.

But Modi has tried to reset relations with Beijing after a year of disagreements over everything from their border to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and will hold an informal summit with Xi on Friday and Saturday in China.

China will continue to firmly support Pakistan, its top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, told Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif at a meeting in Beijing.

“We are ready to work together with our Pakistani brothers to undertake the historical mission of national rejuvenation and achieve the great dream of national prosperity and development,” Wang said.

“In this way, our iron friendship with Pakistan will never rust and be tempered into steel.”

There was no mention of the Xi-Modi meeting in comments made in front of reporters.

Updated Date: Apr 23, 2018 15:42 PM

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