China said today it is willing to play a "constructive role" in easing relations between India and Pakistan as it welcomed the "positive" remarks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on improving bilateral ties.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the improvement and development of relations between India and Pakistan are quite important to regional peace, stability and prosperity.
"We have noted relevant reports and we welcome the positive remarks made by the Indian and Pakistani leaders on improving bilateral relations," Mr Lu said while replying to a question on the statements made by the two leaders soon after Mr Khan assumed office.
"Both Pakistan and India are important countries in South Asia...China firmly supports the two sides to enhance dialogue to increase mutual trust, properly handle (disputes) and solve their differences," Mr Lu said.
China hopes the two countries can jointly stay committed to regional peace and development, he said. "China is willing to play a constructive role in this aspect," he added.
On August 20, Prime Minister Modi had sent a letter to Imran Khan, conveying that New Delhi was looking for constructive and meaningful engagement with Islamabad.
Mr Khan in a tweet yesterday expressed Pakistan's willingness to re-start the stalled India-Pakistan peace process and said the two countries must engage in dialogue to resolve their differences, including on the Kashmir issue, and start trade.
Asked what he meant by China playing a constructive role, Mr Lu said, "I said we are glad to see the positive remarks made by the India and Pakistan on improving their bilateral relations and all their efforts that are conducive to the improvement of the relations and the peace and stability in the region. We welcome that. We will play a constructive role in that aspect."
Pressed further whether he meant that China wants to mediate between India and Pakistan, the spokesman said, "I cannot give you a prejudgement or in what aspect and what area we will do. I cannot give you such prejudgement."
In June, the Chinese Ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui, was quoted in the media as saying that China-India ties cannot take the strain of "another" Doklam standoff. According to the reports, he had mooted a "trilateral" China-India-Pakistan dialogue on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) conference to resolve regional issues and maintain peace.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar at that time had said that India did not received any such suggestion from the Chinese government.
India has maintained that it is ready to talk to Pakistan only bilaterally without the intervention of any other nation, including China.