ISLAMABAD: China’s foreign ministry on Saturday denied releasing any information regarding President Xi Jingping’s visit to Pakistan.
“China and Pakistan have maintained close high-level exchanges and are in close communication regarding the next step of such exchanges,” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang told reporters at a news conference in Beijing.
“It is worth pointing out [however] that we never released any information about President Xi’s visit to Pakistan officially,” he said. “So, there is no basis to say we are about to cancel anything.”
At the same time, the spokesperson expressed hope that all major political stakeholders in Pakistan would be able to ‘resolve their differences and restore national security’.
“As for the current situation in Pakistan, we hope relevant parties in Pakistan can work together while bearing in mind the fundamental interests of the state and the people, and jointly safeguard national security,” he said.
The Pakistani government, on the other hand, maintained that the postponement of President Xi’s visit was ‘mutually agreed upon’ by Islamabad and Beijing.
A statement released by Pakistan’s foreign ministry on Saturday said the decision was taken by both countries in view of the current political situation in Pakistan. It added that new dates for the Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan were being discussed through diplomatic channels.
“China and Pakistan are time-tested, all-weather friends. We are trying our best to ensure that the visit takes place as early as possible,” the statement read.
Earlier, on Friday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s top aide on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, announced that the Chinese president had decided to put off his visit to Pakistan due to possible security threats in light of ongoing protests by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek in Islamabad.