China on Sunday said it supported Pakistan's "quest for peace through dialogue" to settle the outstanding disputes with India and backed Islamabad's engagement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
According to a joint statement issued after Prime Minister Imran Khan's talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, China backed Pakistan's efforts to improve ties with India to settle "outstanding disputes", without directly mentioning the Kashmir issue.
"China appreciates Pakistan's quest for peace through dialogue, cooperation and negotiation, on the basis of mutual respect and equality, and supports Pakistan's efforts for improvement of Pakistan-India relations and for settlement of outstanding disputes between the two countries," the joint statement said.
In recent years, China has refrained from taking a public stance on the India-Pakistan ties, expressing hope for resolution of the disputes through dialogue.
On the Kashmir issue, China's often repeated stand was that it should be resolved peacefully through dialogue.
India too supports dialogue as the way to resolve the issue with Pakistan but maintains that the talks and terrorism cannot go together.
Also significantly, China tacitly expressed its backing for Pakistan's efforts to secure the NSG membership.
China has been blocking India's entry into the NSG on the ground that New Delhi is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) even though a majority of the 48-member group supported India's entry into the elite nuclear club. Pakistan too has applied for the NSG membership.
"The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to multilateral, non-discriminatory arms control and non-proliferation endeavours," the joint statement said.
"They noted with concern the continued pursuit of double standards in the application of non-proliferation norms and procedures and called for policies upholding rule of law and long-standing rules," it added.
China appreciates and supports steps taken by Pakistan for strengthening the global non-proliferation regime, it said.
In this context, China supports Pakistan's engagement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group and welcomes its adherence of NSG Guidelines, the statement added.
Pakistan PM Imran Khan had said recently, "It is time India realise it must move to resolve the Kashmir dispute through dialogue in accordance with the UN SC resolutions & the wishes of the Kashmiri people."
India responded to Khan's statement by saying that instead of making comments on internal affairs of another country, Islamabad should take "credible action" to dismantle terror infrastructure operating from its own soil.
(With PTI Inputs)