Pakistan warns Asian countries against 'great power rivalry' in region

Asia must not become theatre of tensions induced from without or within, says Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Pakistan warns Asian countries against 'great power rivalry' in region

Pakistan on Friday called on Asian countries to avoid a “great power rivalry” in the region and focus on economic cooperation, trade, and investment.

Addressing the 26th International Conference on the Future of Asia in Japan via video link, Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that Asia “must not become a theatre of tensions induced from without or within.”

“The differences and disputes in Asia require Asian solutions on the basis of Asian values and interests,” he said.

“The Asia-Pacific [region], including the Indian Ocean, should become a zone of peace, an area of expanding cooperation and prosperity, through strict adherence to the principles of the UN Charter and the Bandung Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.”

While he did not explicitly mention it, the Pakistani premier was referring to the US-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue group that includes Japan, Australia, and India.

China views the alliance, known as the Quad, as a threat to itself and the region.

Stressing the need for greater global cooperation, Khan said China’s Belt and Road Initiative provides “an important pathway” for “integration across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.”

“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC] is a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative. It has generated economic activity, employment and will enhance bilateral and regional trade,” he said.

He added that Islamabad has invited all friendly countries to invest and benefit from the $64 billion megaproject, a network of roads, railways, and pipelines that aims to connect China’s strategically important northwestern Xinjiang region to the port of Gwadar in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province.

Khan also reiterated Pakistan’s desire for peace and good relations with all regional countries, including its neighboring country and rival, India.

“Pakistan wants peaceful and cooperative relations with all its neighbors, including India. But India must stop the human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and revisit the unilateral measures it took on Aug. 5, 2019,” he said.

“It is essential that an enabling environment is created for dialogue to peacefully resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the people of Kashmir.”

‘No one safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe’

The Pakistan premier stressed the need for collective efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“We must act collectively to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are made available to everyone, everywhere, and as soon as possible,” he said.

“No one will be safe unfortunately until everyone is safe. The vaccine’s supply and distribution must be immediately expanded, patent rights waived, production ramped up, including in the developing world and the COVAX facility fully extended and funded.”

Palestine crisis

Khan said Israel’s continued aggression against Palestinians “remains a matter of deep concern for everyone.”

“The international community must take urgent actions to stop Israeli attacks against Palestinians, prevent the desecration of holy places, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and facilitate a just and lasting solution in line with the relevant UN resolutions and the two-state vision,” he added.