BEIJING – The new cooperation and development mechanism launched by China with its neighbors Pakistan and Afghanistan is not directed against third countries, China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday, amid Indian suspicions the strategy is an attempt to isolate it.
The foreign ministers of the three nations met in Beijing on Tuesday to launch a joint cooperative mechanism and look into the inclusion of Afghanistan in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an economic platform and a collection of infrastructure and transport projects valued at nearly $57 billion.
According to Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, it is not directed at third parties and they want other countries to benefit from it.
The spokesperson added it is quite normal for China, Pakistan and Afghanistan to have dialogue and cooperation.
China’s neighbors Afghanistan and Pakistan have a strong desire to improve their economy and the lives of their people, the spokesperson said.
The international cooperation plans with these countries are tailored for One Belt One Road, China’s infrastructure and telecommunications initiative aimed at connecting the country to economies in Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Europe. India, for now, is against being a part of it.
Beijing and New Delhi have shared a strained relationship for decades, due to mutual border claims and other issues.