China and Pakistan pledged their support for each other Sunday as tension between Pakistan and India remains high over Kashmir.
The announcement of mutual support came after Pakistani President Arif Alvi met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Islamabad.
Alvi described China as its “iron friend” and said he appreciated the country’s support and pledged Pakistan’s cooperation with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Alvi added he valued China’s support internationally and vowed to strengthen its “strategic cooperative partnership.”
Wang, who also met with Pakistan Army chief Oamar JavadBajwa, said China supports Pakistan in protecting its “sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity and the government to achieve national stability, development and prosperity.”
Pakistan has publicly supported residents in the India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir region after its rival stripped the area of its autonomous status last month. India shut down the Internet for weeks and sent troops into the region as it ended the status.
On Monday, Pakistan faced pro-independence protests that continued to take place in the Kashmir region its controls. Authorities arrested 22 people during those demonstrations Saturday. Police used tear gas to disrupt the protests.
The fighting started Saturday in Tatrinote, about 50 miles from the Pakistani Kashmir capital of Muzaffarabad. Protesters continued to demonstrate with a sit-in Monday.
District police chief Tahir Mahmood Qureshi said it only used the tear gas when the protesters approached the controversial Line of Control that separates Pakistan and India controlled Pakistan.
“We were giving them a safe route, but they wanted to go to an exposed area where Indians could have shelled them,” Qureshi said. “Indian shelling has hit people in our area. We did not want innocent people to be killed because of the (protesters).”