ISLAMABAD - Chinese President Xi Jinping has postponed his visit to Pakistan which was expected this year, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said yesterday.

Speaking to journalists here, the envoy said that the visit was being rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier in the day, the ambassador met Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi here.

The Ambassador said the two governments were working on deciding a new date for President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan. “It would be announced soon. The two governments are working on it,” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had invited the Chinese President to Pakistan during his visit to China.

Yao Jing said that the Chinese government was satisfied with the progress of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and both the governments were aware of the challenges facing the multi-billion-dollar project.

“Together, Pakistan and China will defeat these threats,” the envoy said and added that China and Pakistan will not allow the enemies to succeed in their nefarious designs and CPEC.

“The CPEC projects will continue despite the challenge of Covid-19 on both sides. Steps are being taken by both the countries to deal with the pandemic,” he said.

The ambassador assured China’s confidence in CPEC saying that negative elements cannot stop both the countries from cooperation. “The people of both the countries will be able to benefit from this project,” he added.

In February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had announced that the Chinese President Xi Jinping was expected to visit Pakistan, whereas, some sources had claimed that the visit was likely in June.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Qureshi yesterday held a with the Chinese envoy and emphasized deeper cooperation between Pakistan and china in agriculture sector.

“Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan’s economy and employs a large part of Pakistan’s productive labour force. There is a greater need to revamp and modernize agriculture sector with China’s co-operation and unleash the Second Green Revolution in Pakistan”, said Foreign Minister Qureshi in the meeting with Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing. The Agriculture Commissioner of the Chinese Embassy, Dr Gu Wenliang, was also accompanying the Ambassador.

Welcoming the establishment of Joint Working Group on Agriculture Cooperation under CPEC, Foreign Minister Qureshi emphasized that inclusion of agriculture in CPEC will promote industrialization and modernization of the agriculture economy.

Ambassador Yao Jing underlined that China would like to collaborate with Pakistan in setting up Agriculture Technology Centers, Joint Research Centre for Plant Pest and Disease Control, and FMD Zones in Pakistan.