Pakistan and China on Monday signed Executive Programme of Cultural Agreement for further consolidating cultural relations and promoting people-to-people contacts between the two states.

Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Chinese Minister of Culture Luo Shugang signed the agreement on behalf of their respective countries. Ambassador of Pakistan to China and senior officials of both the countries were also present on the occasion.

In her meeting with the Chinese Minister of Culture before the signing ceremony, the Minister of State said that the relations between the iron brothers and strategic partners were deeper than oceans and higher than mountains and were based on mutual trust and respect. She expressed the confidence that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would take the bilateral relations between the two countries to new heights. Marriyum said that people of both countries wanted to enhance the cultural collaboration and added that President Xi Jinping’s vision of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was a historic milestone not only for the countries along the belt and road but also the region and beyond. The MOS said that relationship between Pakistan and China had been further strengthened by CPEC, a flagship project of BRI.

She said that after signing the agreement, there was a greater responsibility on both the countries to strive for time bound implementation process. She said that during the 19th Congress of the China Communist Party (CPC), President Xi Jinping stressed upon cultural exchanges as the fourth core component of the BRI. The Minister of State said that the economic cooperation, infrastructure development, energy projects and the people to people exchanges would enhance contacts and share & promote the heritage of both countries.

She said that the relationship between Pakistan and China had been embedded into our culture, adding that the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National History and Literary Heritage was actively pursuing the cultural contacts between the two states. She informed her host that during the last year, CPEC Cultural Caravan was organized from Xinjiang to Gwadar. Chinese group of visual artists and performing arts also participated. She observed that today’s agreement would translate into extensive cultural contacts between the two countries and also impart sustainability to the cultural ties.

The Minister of State proposed a mutual photography exhibition at the Pak-China National Culture Center in Islamabad w had already been established and also the grant of a cultural scholarship to students in universities. She also proposed to establish a FM Radio with an access along the CPEC route in Pakistan.

Marriyum Aurangzeb particularly mentioned the Chinese Cultural Counselor in Pakistan who made this agreement a reality.

Chinese Minister for Culture Luo Sugang welcomed the minister and her delegation and said that China and Pakistan had special relations and friendly bonds particularly after the visit of President Xi Jinping to Pakistan in 2015. In culture, both the countries shared progressive relations and would enrich cultural relationship in future. He said that CPEC as flagship project of BRI was not only a corridor for economic and trade activity but it also was a conduit to enhance cultural exchanges between the two brotherly countries. He invited the Minister of State to attend the Silk Road Cultural festival scheduled to be held in China in September this year.

He also thanked the government of Pakistan for helping in establishing China Cultural Center which was inaugurated in Islamabad last year, adding that, till now 38 different types of events including exhibitions and performing arts had been introduced in less than a year.

The Chinese Culture Minister said that the two countries could work together in archaeology and heritage preservation and offered Chinese assistance for establishment of archaeology and heritage center in Pakistan. He said, “We can provide training to archaeological professionals in this centre.”

Among other things, Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb and Luo Shugang discussed the future plan in regards to the establishment of Pak-China National Cultural Centre, Cultural Film Academy and Pak-China Cultural Sister College and University. The proposal of holding International Cultural CPEC Conference as well as exhibition of Pakistani movies in Chinese Cinemas also came under discussion. Minister of State and Minister of Culture, China both emphasized the need of formal agreement in establishing archeological centre in Pakistan and joint production of Pak-China cultural documentaries.

“CPEC being a route of peace and prosperity is also a cultural corridor and would further encourage people to people contacts,” MOS said.

Earlier, talking to media, Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Pak-China friendship was a part of our culture and as a nation all the segment of Pakistani society had consensus on it. She opined that China was now altering the world’s economic map and said the way it was progressing; it would soon become number one economy of the world. Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the infrastructure development and energy projects focused on the people of two countries, adding, the development and progress would change the lives of the people of the two countries as well as the region.

The Minister of State said that the socio-economic condition of the people was getting better due to job opportunities under the CPEC and the people-oriented project would also have positive impact on the coming generations. Lauding the role of Pakistani media regarding CPEC, she said it created awareness among the people about the project adding, the print media contributed a number of editorials and articles while the Expo at Gwadar was telecast live by news channels of Pakistan.

She said that more than 5,000 businessmen and representatives of different countries participated in the Gwadar investment Expo which was a big success for the country. While commenting on Pak-China friendship, she said it was an example for the world as relations between both the countries were based on shared prosperity and mutual trust. She said that China’s Spring Festival was celebrated with great enthusiasm in Pakistan as well. A number of cultural activities were also arranged at the schools and cultural centers across the country.