Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Tuesday that all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China has become an anchor for peace and stability in the region.
He was addressing a conference titled ‘Pakistan-China at 70: A Unique Bilateral Partnership’ where Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman Pakistan-China Institute, Ambassador Nong Rong, and other dignitaries.
“This year is a historic year for the people of Pakistan and China. Our two countries are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations, and China is celebrating the 100th anniversary of founding of the Communist Party,” the foreign minister highlighted.
Qureshi said both sides support each other on our respective core issues. Pakistan has always upheld ‘One-China Policy’ and supported China on Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and South China Sea issues. China has stood by Pakistan in supporting our key strategic, economic and developmental priorities. While maintaining its principled and just stance, China supported Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir dispute, he added.
Pakistan-China friendship is rooted deeply in the hearts and minds of the people of the two countries, he said, adding: “We have the finest tradition of standing by each other through difficult times. In line with this tradition, our cooperation against COVID-19 pandemic remained exemplary”.
After the outbreak of COVID-19, Pakistan immediately dispatched essential medical supplies to China for its fight against COVID-19. President Dr. Arif Alvi travelled to Beijing at the peak of the pandemic to express solidarity with China in its efforts to contain the pandemic, he recalled.
In global fight against COVID-19, Pakistan supported China’s initiatives both at regional and global fora including President Xi’s declaration of making COVID-19 vaccine a ‘global public good.’
Similarly, China provided us over 60 planeloads of medical relief goods to contain the pandemic. A team of Chinese medical experts also visited Pakistan to share experience and strengthen our capacity to fight the pandemic, he said.
He termed Pak-China cooperation on COVID-19 vaccine exemplary, adding that the Pakistan has received over three and a half million doses of vaccine as a gift from the friendly state.
“We are also procuring COVID-19 vaccine on commercial basis. National Institute of Health in Islamabad has started local production of PakVac vaccine with the help of China,” he said.
He said that the main focus of Pakistan has shifted from geopolitics to geo-economics. “We seek to transform Pakistan into a progressive and an economically vibrant country through development partnerships, connectivity and regional peace,” the foreign minister vowed.
In the first phase, CPEC has helped Pakistan in infrastructure development and address essential energy needs for economic growth and development.
“In its second phase, our focus is on industrialization, agriculture cooperation, socio-economic development and job creation.
T”he tremendous progress made in CPEC projects signals the shared commitment of Pakistan and China. In a short span of time, we have completed 19 projects, 28 are under construction, while 41 are in the pipeline. Over the past seven years CPEC power projects have created more than 26,000 jobs. In addition, CPEC motorway projects have created over 50,000 jobs,” he said.
Pakistan has prioritized three Special Economic Zones in the second phase of CPEC. The ground-breaking of Rashakai SEZ was held on 28 May this year, he said adding: “We welcome businessmen and entrepreneurs from all countries to benefit from our investment friendly regime and reap economic dividends from these SEZs”.
Pakistan offers pivotal geo-economic location, regional connectivity, a huge consumer market with and expanding middle class, and a large segment of skilled, vibrant, and youthful population to its valued investors.
“Our future vision is to combine Infrastructure, Knowledge, Digital, Health and Green Corridors to make CPEC a ‘People’s Corridor of Prosperity and Progress,’ he added.