China won't take sides on Kashmir: Chinese media

Beijing: China will not stop building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) despite India's protests but will also not side with either country over the Kashmir dispute, a state-run daily said on Tuesday. In an editorial, the Global Times referred to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's reported concern over the corridor -- worth $46 billion -- in her meeting with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. "It is regrettable to see CPEC become another unharmonious factor in Sino-Indian ties but China is unlikely to give up on the idea of the CPEC because of India's protest," the daily said. It said the economic corridor, which will link China's Xinjiang province to Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan, "does not target any third party, India included". "Given that China has developed close economic ties with both India and Pakistan in recent years, Beijing is unlikely to be interested in taking a side between the two countries," it said. The editorial said the Kashmir dispute had made both countries "habitually vigilant," affecting foreign investment flow into the region. "It is the Kashmir conflict itself, rather than any alleged political intent behind the foreign investment, that creates tension in the region. Rather than prevent foreign investors from entering the region as a solution to concerns over CPEC, India should focus on its negations with Pakistan to settle the Kashmir dispute," the tabloid said. "It is precisely because of the region's worsening investment environment that POK's economy is still heavily reliant on agriculture. Also, the northern part of India bordering Pakistan and India-controlled Kashmir both lack basic infrastructure."