PM Shehbaz, President Xi agree to strengthen cooperation on CPEC, strategic partnership

Shehbaz Xi
Source: Radio Pakistan

Beijing: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday agreed to strengthen multilateral cooperation in diverse areas, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and strategic partnership.

The two leaders met at the People’s Great Hall of China and discussed broad-based cooperation in economy and investment, besides exchanging views on regional and global developments.

PM Sharif and President Xi expressed the desire to further promote the All-Weather Strategic Cooperation Partnership between their countries.

Shehbaz Xi

PM Shehbaz Sharif, who arrived in Beijing Tuesday on a two-day official visit, is among the first leaders to visit China following the historic 20th National Congress of the Communist Party (CPC) of China.

During the meeting, PM Shehbaz congratulated President Xi on his reelection as General Secretary of the 20th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. He also thanked him for China’s invaluable assistance to Pakistan’s relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction efforts in the wake of the devastation caused by super floods in the country.

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The two leaders reviewed the progress in Pakistan-China bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest. They reaffirmed their commitment to the All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the two countries that has withstood the test of time.

Historic China-Pak ties

Reaffirming Pakistan’s historic ties with China and the salience of bilateral friendship for regional peace and stability, PM Shehabz strongly said that Pakistan-China friendship enjoyed complete consensus across the political spectrum in Pakistan and was a model of inter-state relations.

Paying tribute to President Xi’s leadership for China’s prosperity and his vision for strengthening of the bilateral relationship, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan drew inspiration from China’s socioeconomic development and national resolve to the country’s progress and prosperity.

Trade consensus

The two leaders discussed cooperation across a range of issues, including defense, trade and investment, agriculture, health, education, green energy, science and technology, and disaster preparedness. They reaffirmed their mutual commitment to CPEC while highlighting that CPEC’s high-quality development would further strengthen bilateral ties between Pakistan and China.

In this regard, PM Shehbaz and President Xi agreed that as a project of strategic importance, both sides would make joint efforts for launching ML-1 as an early harvest project, under the CPEC framework. They also acknowledged the need for a mass-transit project in Karachi and agreed to finalize all formalities for the early launching of the Karachi Circular Railway.

Additional support for flood victims

President Xi Jinping assured that China would continue to extend its support to Pakistan for sustainable economic development and to harness its potential as the geo-economic hub. He also announced an additional assistance package of RMB 500 million for Pakistan’s post-flood relief and rehabilitation efforts.

The two leaders exchanged views on the rapid transformation in the international environment, which had exacerbated economic challenges for developing countries. They agreed that contemporary challenges like climate change, health pandemics, and growing inequalities needed unqualified cooperation among states, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Xi Jinping also discussed key issues, pertaining to the region, including the situation in IIOJK and in Afghanistan. Both leaders acknowledged that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan would promote regional security and economic development and agreed that CPEC’s extension to Afghanistan would strengthen regional connectivity initiatives.

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This is PM Shehbaz’s maiden official visit to China after assuming the PM office earlier this year. A high-level delegation, including federal ministers, SAPMs as well as Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah is also accompanying the premier on the visit.

On his arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport, the Prime Minister was given a red carpet welcome as the smartly turned-out contingents of the Chinese forces presented him with the guard of honor.

A day before leaving for China, PM Shehbaz had said that Pakistan strongly needed to emulate the Chinese model of development for its sustainable progress and prosperity.

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