Pakistan and China are all-weather friends, who have stood by one another in times of hardship, and their partnership during the Covid-19 period has been exemplary, Pakistan Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque said on Saturday.
According to the ambassador, when the coronavirus first hit China, Pakistan stood by China, sending a plane loaded with much-needed supplies, and the Pakistani president undertook a solidarity visit to China in March.
“By the time Covid-19 started spreading in Pakistan, China came to help us in a big way,” the ambassador said in an exclusive interview with China.org.cn. “We are grateful to China for providing critical support to Pakistan in these difficult times.” Pakistan and China are now cooperating on the development of Covid-19 vaccines, for which phase-3 clinical trials are being conducted jointly by pharmaceutical companies from both countries in Pakistan, Haque said.
The construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has attracted much attention from both inside and outside the two countries.The ambassador described the CPEC as a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative, and a strong pillar of China-Pakistan relations. “It is a mega project of infrastructure development, energy, transport and telecommunication,” explained Haque. “In Phase II, we are going to focus on the areas of agriculture, industry, IT, science and technology, and tourism. Special focus would be on socioeconomic development and poverty alleviation.”
According to the ambassador, nine Special Economic Zones are being established under the CPEC, where enterprises from China and other countries can set up business and manufacturing facilities.
This new important dimension of industrial cooperation under the CPEC will greatly help businesspeople and investors from both countries, the ambassador said. In recent years, Chinese and Pakistani authorities have worked on multiple cultural and educational exchange programs to strengthen bilateral ties. The number of Pakistani students studying in China has increased threefold during the past seven years to some 28,000, making it the largest overseas contingent of Pakistani students anywhere in the world.