The Chinese and Pakistan are “long way apart,” Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has said, a stark contrast to his predecessor, Khawaji, who famously declared that “we are the same country, we are brothers, and we will be neighbours for ever.”
Asif’s remarks were made during a meeting of Pakistan’s highest military leadership on Sunday and the government will hold an official meeting on Monday to discuss the issue.
China has been Pakistan’s most important trading partner since independence in 1947, and relations between the two countries have been tense since the Pakistan military launched a major offensive in 2008 to wrest control of the Indian-administered tribal region of Balochistan.
“We are brothers and Pakistan has its own interests, but we do not want to become enemies,” Asif said in a statement.
“I want to reiterate that we will continue to work with Pakistan to ensure peace and stability in Balochia and across the border.”
As the war rages on in Baluchistan, Pakistan is also locked in a standoff with India over disputed territory in Kashmir.
Last month, India accused Pakistan of violating its territorial integrity and “violating the peace and tranquility” of the disputed region.
Asif told the meeting of his Pakistan counterpart, Asif Rashid, that he had assured him that Pakistan’s government would “serve its people and ensure their safety.”
“We will never tolerate such actions,” Asis said.
“If Pakistan fails to do so, we will take strong steps to protect our interests.”
The war in Balut has claimed more than 6,000 lives and displaced nearly 2 million people.
The Chinese military, which is based in the northwest, is in a defensive mode.
China’s foreign ministry declined to comment on the meeting.
In recent years, the two sides have developed a deep friendship, especially since China opened a military base in Baluchestan, the Pakistani side of Baluchstan.
As for the US, the relationship has been rocky for years.
In 2010, a top US diplomat, Joseph Wilson, was accused of human rights abuses in China, including torture and extrajudicial killings.
In November of that year, Wilson was arrested in Pakistan, where he was held in secret for six months.
On Friday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Wilson was released on the condition that he not engage in political activities and that he would not attend any political rallies.
A spokesperson for Wilson said the US diplomat “has no diplomatic immunity.”
China has also detained and held US citizen John Brennan, a former CIA director, in recent years.
“The United States has a long history of human and economic abuses against China, which should be addressed seriously and fully by the international community and China,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in December.