China says willing to mediate between Pakistan and Iran after strikes

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Beijing said Thursday it was willing to mediate between Pakistan and Iran following an exchange of fire against militant targets in their border region, including a strike that Tehran said killed at least seven civilians.

“The Chinese side sincerely hopes that the two sides can exercise calm and restraint and avoid an escalation of tension,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular press conference.

“We are also willing to play a constructive role in de-escalating the situation if both sides so wish,” she said.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan and neighbouring Iran are both battling simmering insurgencies along their sparsely populated border regions.

On Thursday, Pakistan said it carried out strikes against militant targets in Iran.

Tehran said it had summoned the Pakistani charge d’affaires in response to the attack, which killed at least seven people.

Both countries are close partners of Beijing and members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Mao reiterated Iran and Pakistan were “friendly countries to China, and countries with important influence”.

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