China reassures Pakistan on eve of joint exercises with India
BEIJING (AFP) Nov 13, 2003
China Thursday sought to reassure Pakistan on the eve of joint naval exercises with the South Asian nation's rival India, saying bilateral ties would not be affected.

"China has normal state-to-state relations with India and Pakistan," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular briefing.

"Both of them are good neighbors of China, and I don't think the development of China-India relations will affect the friendly relations between China and Pakistan," he said.

China and India will hold their first-ever joint naval maneuvers Friday, aimed at ensuring the safety of maritime trade and improving search and rescue coordination at sea.

"This cooperation between the two sides will further enrich our friendly relations and will further improve understanding between our armed forces," Liu said.

"This will facilitate a comprehensive and constructive partnership between China and India."

Three Indian ships arrived in Shanghai with 672 sailors aboard earlier this week.

The decision to hold the joint exercise was taken during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to China in June and follows similar Sino-Pakistani war games earlier this month.