China denies rumours of rift, says Xi Jinping, PM Nawaz met ‘several times’ at SCO summit

Agencies/Beijing
June 14, 2017 0 Comments INTERNATIONAL 202 Views

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met ‘several times’ during the recently-held Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhastan, China said Monday.
Beijing’s statement comes days after reports said Xi had skipped a customary meeting with Sharif at the SCO summit after two Chinese teachers were abducted in Balochistan last month.
“Some reports are just nonsense and unwanted,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said, according to the Press Trust of India. “China and Pakistan enjoy an all-weather strategic partnership.”
However, the spokesperson did not confirm if the meetings between Xi and Sharif were bilateral in nature or not.
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On June 8, it was reported that two Chinese citizens who were kidnapped from Quetta by the militant Islamic State group had been killed.
Read more: Abducted Chinese nationals were ‘preaching’ in Quetta, Nisar told
China had condemned the incident saying the abduction highlighted the ‘risks’ associated with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Hindustan Times had reported.
Last week it was reported that Xi had held meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, except Sharif at the SCO summit.
Meanwhile, it was also reported that PM Nawaz had met with the presidents of Kazakhstan, Russia and Afghanistan, but did not meet Xi.
Lu said all member nations at the summit had agreed to “build on the Shanghai spirit” and step up the cooperation between the new and old members.
“The summit has realised the first-ever membership enlargement of the SCO,” Lu said. “As you know India and Pakistan have got full membership.”
The spokesperson further said that the summit appreciated the Belt Road Forum which was held in Beijing last month. This forum was boycotted by India over concerns relating to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

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