Beijing tells India to lay off South China Sea, defends PoK corridor


India can’t explore for oil in disputed areas of the South China Sea, Beijing said Thursday while defending its $46 billion trade corridor through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir — described as unacceptable by New Delhi — as a “livelihood project”.

A network of roads, railways and pipelines, the 3,000km-long corridor aims to connect China’s northwestern Xinjiang region to Gwadar port in Pakistan’s southwest while passing through PoK.

But, according to Huang Xilian, deputy director general, Asian Affairs in foreign ministry, India has nothing to worry as it is a commercial venture.

“We know the concern of the Indian side and those projects are not political projects. They are all for livelihood of people,” he told a group of Indian journalists and academics in Beijing.

The same principle, however, does not seem apply to India. Huang said he was not aware exactly which part of the sea India planned to look for oil but indicated if it was in disputed waters, it would be a problem.

“India will react if a Chinese company goes to a disputed area with a South Asian neighbour,” Huang said when asked about Beijing’s objections.

China has, in the past, reacted sharply to India’s ONGC being awarded exploration contracts by Vietnam. India has defended the projects, saying they are purely commercial and need not be politicised.

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