China denies rumour of rift with Pakistan
China also confirmed that the country's President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held 'friendly talks several times' during the recently-held Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement: "On your second question, I can assure you that at the sidelines of the 17th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO Member States, President Xi Jinping held friendly talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif many times."
"As for those reports you mentioned, I think they are pointless and baseless. China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners enjoying relationship that runs long and deep," Lu Kang said.
However, it has not been clarified whether the meetings were bilateral in nature.
The statement was made amid reports that Xi had skipped a customary meeting with Sharif at the SCO summit following abduction of Chinese nationals in Pakistan recently.
Militant group ISIS had earlier claimed responsibility for the death of two Chinese nationals who were abducted from Pakistan recently, media reports said.
The two nationals were reportedly abducted from Quetta area in Pakistan.
Chinese and Pakistani authorities have started investigation the claim made by the militant group.
A Pakistani senior government official, on condition of anonymity, had told Dawn.com that an investigation into the IS claim is underway.
Chinese officials have expressed their concern over the incident.
Speaking on the issue China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying had earlier said in a statement: "We have noted the relevant report and are highly concerned about that. We have been trying to rescue the two hostages during this period of time. The Chinese side is trying to learn more about and verify the situation by all means, including via the Pakistani side. The Chinese side firmly opposes kidnapping of civilians, terrorism and extremely violent acts in all forms."
SITE Intel Group website had said: "The Islamic State’s (IS) ‘Amaq News Agency reported that group fighters killed two Chinese nationals who were being held in Balochistan province of Pakistan."