Islamabad   -  Prime Minister Imran Khan reached China Thursday night on his first official visit to the country after assuming the office.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his maiden visit to China, will discuss a number of issues, including an economic package to steer Pakistan out of the difficulties caused by depleting foreign exchange reserves.

The Chinese assistance is expected to stabilise the economy, which has already started showing signs of improvement after a package given by Saudi Arabia. The situation will improve further when the UAE comes up with a similar gesture in weeks ahead.

The prime minister was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood and Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal.

According to a Foreign Office statement issued earlier, the prime minister, during his visit from November 2 to 5, would hold meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

After his visit to Beijing, the prime minister would participate in the First China International Import Expo in Shanghai, where Pakistan is exhibiting a wide range of export products. The prime minister will be a keynote speaker at the inauguration of the Expo.

On the sidelines of Shanghai forum, the prime minister will hold meetings with other world leaders as well as the leaders of Chinese financial and corporate sector.

According to informed sources, during Imran Khan’s visit to China will likely to sort out issues relating to CPEC and ever-changing regional scenario.

Eradication of corruption through deterrent punishments to corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen is also expected to be an important item on the agenda of the prime minister. He is impressed with the way China got rid of the menace and wants to take benefit from their experience.

A good deal of time is expected to be devoted to this issue, which remains an obstacle to Pakistan’s progress.

Poverty alleviation is another subject Premier Imran Khan will discuss with his hosts.

The prime minister thinks that it was a great achievement of China to have taken a large number of people above the poverty line, and that Pakistan can take benefit from this experience.

Imran Khan will inform the Chinese authorities that Pakistan fully supports One China policy and that he has issued instructions to all concerned that Islamabad would have no communication with Taiwan at any level.

Construction of rail-road network in Pakistan under CPEC, establishment of special economic zones on both sides of roads will also come under discussion. The two sides are likely to sign a number of MoUs for the purpose.

A full session is likely to be devoted to review of progress on ongoing projects, especially the Karachi Circular Railway.

According to sources, a very popular TV host is scheduled to interview the Pakistani prime minister during his stay in China.

Xinhua adds: Prime Minister Khan said the upcoming first-ever China International Import Expo (CIIE) will serve as a great opportunity for Pakistan to increase its exports so as to narrow its trade deficit and earn more revenue to address its looming debt issues.

“We need some help to push our exports. The main problem in Pakistan right now is current account deficit so this (the CIIE) is a great opportunity for Pakistan to have a pavilion where we will be exhibiting our exports,” the prime minister told Chinese media in Islamabad ahead of his China visit scheduled from Nov 2-5.

Khan said Pakistan has many items including textiles, agricultural products, sports goods, surgical equipment, and leather goods to export, adding his government is taking a series of tough reforms to make export items more competitive in the global market.

The prime minister hailed China’s reform and opening up policy which provides Chinese industries a better environment to develop and compete in international trade.

“Once our governance system improves, and the cost of doing business in Pakistan goes down, we will then be able to compete with our international competitors. China has set a good example,” he added.

It will be the first official visit to China by Khan as prime minister, who took office in August. According to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, the prime minister is expected to meet with the Chinese leadership and will attend the CIIE to be held in Shanghai where he will also give a keynote speech.

“I’m looking forward to it (China visit), and meet with the Chinese leadership,” said Khan, adding Pakistan can learn a lot from the Chinese experiences of development and the most important is that how could Pakistan benefit from the Chinese experiences.

He detailed that anti-corruption is the top task he wants to learn from China as Pakistan is struggling against the problem and the second is China’s campaign against poverty.

On the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the prime minister said the project is now in a new phase in which it should focus more on bringing more investment to Pakistan and establishing special economic zones. The prime minister hoped CPEC, by doing so, could help Pakistan develop its industry in order to enhance its exports.

Khan hailed the cooperative relations with China. “We have a very special relationship with China, the people of Pakistan have always looked upon China very positively as a friend, and recently with CPEC, it has given a great opportunity for Pakistan to bring in foreign investment to get out of the difficult economic situation which we are in.”

On domestic economic challenges, the prime minister said that his government is taking measures to address the current account deficit, which he called as the biggest challenge in Pakistan’s economy, by seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and help from friendly countries.


Says Shanghai Expo offers Pakistan opportunity to boost exports