China says supports Iran, Pakistan in continuing to ‘bridge differences through dialogue’

The flag of Iran is seen over its consulate building, with Pakistan's flag in the foreground, in Karachi, Pakistan on January 18, 2024. (REUTERS/File)
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  • South Asian nations are moving to mend ties after exchanging military strikes last week
  • China, close to both countries, had from the beginning of standoff said it could mediate

ISLAMABAD: China said on Monday it supported Pakistan and Iran in “bridging differences through dialogue and consultations,” as the two South Asian nations move to mend ties after exchanging military strikes last week.

Last week Islamabad said it had hit bases of the anti-Pakistan, separatist Balochistan Liberation Front and Balochistan Liberation Army, after Tehran said its missiles struck militants from the ‘Iranian terrorist group,’ Jaish al Adl (JAA). The tit-for-tat strikes by the two countries were the highest-profile cross-border intrusions in recent years and raised alarm about wider instability in the region since the war between Israel and Hamas erupted on Oct. 7. The two Muslim nations have had a history of frosty ties but the intrusions amounted to the highest level of attacks in decades.

China, close to both countries, from the beginning of the standoff said it was ready to mediate.

“I want to stress that Pakistan and Iran are friendly neighbors, and both are good friends of China. China is committed to upholding regional and international peace and stability and supports Iran and Pakistan in continuing to bridge differences through dialogue and consultation,”

“We would like to continue to play a positive and constructive role in improving the relations between Iran and Pakistan based on the needs of the two countries.”

After Iran’s attack, Pakistan had recalled its ambassador to Tehran and had not allowed his counterpart to return to Islamabad, as well as canceling all high-level diplomatic and trade engagements.

On Monday, Pakistan and Iran announced in a joint statement ambassadors of both countries had been asked to return to their posts by Jan. 26 while the Iranian foreign minister would visit Pakistan on Jan. 29.