China, Pakistan giving helping hands to each other: Zhao Sherin


Says future of CPEC is ultimately in Pakistanis’ hands

Amraiz Khan

The Chinese Consul General in Lahore, H.E. Zhao Shiren, has said that during the last three years China and Pakistan had given helping hands to each other in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, the unprecedented flood calamity, and the evacuation effort of more than 200 Pakistani diaspora by Chinese navy ship from the war-torn Sudan to Saudi Arabia.

The Chinese Consul expressed these views during a meeting with Mr. Faisal Zahid Malik, Editor-in-Chief daily Pakistan Observer who called on him in the former’s office the other day. But during the current year when Pakistan was handling the extraordinary financial and economic challenges featured by a paucity of foreign exchange reserves and daunting external debt repayment, China, to the best of its capacity, came firstly and immediately to give loan, deposit and rollover, rendering much-needed assistance for Pakistan’s financial stabilization.

Mr. Sherin said, this year also witnesses the resumption and regaining momentum of the high-level exchanges and visits. Since Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif paid his maiden official visit to China last November, the new Chinese Premier Li Qiang had held the first telephonic conversation with him.

Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang made his inaugural visit to Islamabad in early May, co-chairing with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari the 4th round of the Foreign Minister-level Strategic Dialogue.

He said that both leaders reaffirmed their unwavering resolve to further develop the bilateral ties. Meanwhile, Pakistan Army Chief General Asim Munir visited the People’s Liberation Army headquarters to explore military cooperation. More visits will be seen in coming months.

This year, the Khunjerab Pass, a major land artery connecting China and Pakistan, has been reopened after almost three-year hiatus, giving a momentous spur to the cross-border trade and travel activities. Number of flights between the two countries is also on the rise.

China Southern Airlines is poised to resume its flight operations from Lahore to Urumqi on June 13, providing more relief to the China-bound travellers from Lahore and the Punjab.
The Gandhara Art Exhibition at the Palace Museum in Beijing, an essential part of China-Pakistan Year of Tourism & Exchanges, has attracted many Chinese visitors whose numbers are more than expected. This May, the “Star Moon Road: Pakistan-China Contemporary Arts Exchange” was also successfully launched in Lahore Museum and University of Education Lahore.

He said the future of CPEC is ultimately in Pakistanis’ hand, we hereby ask for more initiatives from our Pakistani partners. He said, “There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China”.

Mr. Shiren was of the view that CPEC is more than a gift that China gave to Pakistan, it must be deemed as a joint venture, a shared undertaking, a common endeavour. And the Pakistani people have the (co-ownership of the projects, he maintained. Gift is easily misused or abused. Nothing should be taken for granted. While implementing the Belt&Road Initiative, we Chinese always seek extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits with partners and stakeholders. This principle also applies to the CPEC. He said that ownership means taking the driver seat, boldness and responsibilities. We invite Pakistani brothers to synergize our development strategies and have close policy dialogues.