Pakistan, China renew pledge on CPEC

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Agree to boost strategic ties to new heights

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

Pakistan and China Saturday reiterated the resolve to take the traditional friendship and all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries to new heights while giving thrust in key areas of economic, trade and defence sectors.
The two sides expressed their convergence of opinion that social economic development would be an important area under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) cooperation between the two countries.
Addressing a joint press conference here after their delegation-level talks, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said being ‘iron brothers’ both countries were supporting each other on various international fora and shared the common principles on different international and regional issues.
He said enhancing the all weather strategic partnership with China was the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. During today’s bilateral talks, they had identified ten areas of cooperation to further the objectives of close relationship and gave impetus to about 20 ongoing projects under the umbrella of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which was expected to create 70,000 jobs.
He said Pakistan was willing to continue collaborating with China on CPEC, which was the fast moving flagship project of One Belt, One Road initiative. It showed the proof of serious and active engagement of all the stakeholders in private and public sectors in both counties.
Qureshi further informed that they also discussed threadbare the impressing issues and the need to keep close communication on global issues.
Both sides had always supported each other on different international issues, he said and expressed gratitude to the Chinese leadership on part of the government of Pakistan and its people for the continued support.
The minister also assured his Chinese counterpart that earlier implementation of CPEC projects would be made by exploring the new avenues.
Qureshi also assured security of the Chinese people working on different CPEC projects and said secure environment would be provided to them by the security forces. The CPEC was an evolving project and its foundations were being laid through better infrastructure, power and energy projects.
To a query, he said with the passage of time, CPEC would take its shape in line with the expectations of the people of Pakistan, resulting in the social economic uplift of the people of Pakistan.
He said they also agreed the importance of relocation of industry, vocational training for making our people more productive, strengthening of agricultural base and the opportunities provided to farmers.
The export of Pak agri-produce to China and implementation on the Special Economic Zones were also discussed. He said the trade possibilities of Pak exports to China with provision of subsidies could remove imbalance of trade.
He said he had also discussed the priorities of the PTI’s led government including poverty alleviation, rooting out corruption and social development.
The minister said Pakistan has made huge strides in combating terrorism and it also condemned the terrorist activities by any individual or groups. The Chinese government supported Pakistan’s contributions in this regard.
China recognized the immense contributions and sacrifices and fully supported Pakistan in its efforts and urged the international community to also acknowledge its contributions in the war on terror which was a global issue.
He said they were thankful to the Chinese government and its leadership for sending congratulatory messages and phone calls to the newly elected leadership of Pakistan.
He further informed that China had invited Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit China on an official visit during November as a guest of honour at an international import expo.
The minister said he also conveyed Pakistan’s consistent support to China and expressed gratitude for China’s active support to Pakistan for becoming a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

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