The article in the Global Times, a ruling Communist Party of China publication, indicated Beijing's latent interest in playing a bigger role in the region. Claiming that China had mediated between Myanmar and Bangladesh over Rohingya refugees issue, the article said, "China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, but that doesn't mean Beijing can turn a deaf ear to the demands of Chinese enterprises in protecting their overseas investments."
"Given the massive investment that China has made in countries along the One Belt, One Road, China now has a vested interest in helping resolve regional conflicts including the dispute over Kashmir between India and Pakistan," it said.
"China's recent mediation between Myanmar and Bangladesh over Rohingya issue shows the increased ability of Beijing in resolving conflicts beyond its borders to maintain regional stability," the article said.
"China has been at the centre of a regional power shift, thus the country now needs to learn how to act as a stabilising force and conflict mediator in the region," it claimed.
The article further stated, "There is so much to learn for China about how to play its role as a regional power at a time when the country is witnessing a boom in outbound direct investment. For instance, while China has the capability to resolve conflicts through mediation given its increased economic influence, the nation needs to be very prudent in dealing with other big powers, India included, in the region."
This is perhaps the first time that China's official media has mentioned Beijing's interest in playing the role of a mediator to resolve the Kashmir issue. China's official stand is that the Kashmir issue should be resolved between India and Pakistan, even though Beijing has been stepping up its investments in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or PoK.
While China in the past has played down reports of the presence of its troops in PoK, saying that they were there to deliver humanitarian assistance, it has increased its involvement in the region due to the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as it runs through Gilgit and Baltistan, which India maintains is part of Jammu and Kashmir.
The CPEC project will link Gwadar in Balochistan to China's Xinjiang via a vast network of highways and railways. India has protested to China over the CPEC and is yet to name an official delegation to take part in a summit of the Belt and Road initiative, of which CPEC is a part. The summit is scheduled to be held on May 14 and 15.
China's official media also referred to last month's participation of Chinese troops for the first time in the Pakistan Day parade as a sign of Chinese military playing a role in regional stability.
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