Senior Chinese officer starts mission to Pakistan and India

Updated: 2015-11-13 07:53

By Li Xiaokun(China Daily)

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A top Chinese military officer arrived in Pakistan late on Wednesday at the start of the first visit to the country and India by an officer of his ranking for more than 10 years.

The visit by Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, forms part of a series of Chinese military diplomatic events scheduled for November.

In the first two weeks of the month, three members of the Central Military Commission, including Fan, are scheduled to visit six countries.

Last week, Defense Minister Chang Wanquan attended the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus in Kuala Lumpur as part of his visits to Malaysia and Cambodia.

On Tuesday, PLA Navy Commander Wu Shengli left Beijing for a visit to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Maldives.

Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said Fan's visit is aimed at strengthening military exchanges with Pakistan and India to safeguard regional peace and stability.

Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said the frequent visits by high-ranking Chinese military officers should not be linked to recent tensions over the South China Sea.

"These visits are all part of the PLA's annual plan aimed at boosting mutual understanding," he said.

The Press Trust of India reported that Fan's visit to Pakistan could be viewed as an attempt to strengthen relations against the back-drop of China's $46 billion investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The news agency added, "His visit to India comes at a time when New Delhi and Beijing have made efforts to improve defense ties."

According to Indian officials, during his three-day visit Fan will have talks with Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and other top defense officials.

A host of issues will be discussed, including efforts by both countries to improve relations among troops deployed along their border following a number of tense standoffs, the news agency reported.

Fan is accompanied by high-level military officers including Zhu Fuxi, the political commissar of the Chengdu Military Area Command, which is in charge of border military issues regarding India.

(China Daily 11/13/2015 page3)