BEIJING - Pakistan and China have 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.

The main features of the agreement include cooperation in the realm of Broadcasting and Films, Culture and Art, Education and Research, Press and Publication, Sports and Youth and Miscellaneous.

The agreement stipulates that the two sides will strengthen the mutual cooperation in technology field of radio broadcasting, films and television between State radio, films and television organisations of both the countries.

The two sides shall strengthen the news sharing mechanism between Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and China Radio International.

It also endeavours to exchange visit of a six-member government cultural delegation for five days and to exchange visits of a 25-member performing arts troupe for seven days as well as exchange of art exhibitions.

It will also encourage the artists from the two sides to carry out academic exchange in the field of culture and arts.

Promotion of exchange between art galleries, theatres, archival institute and cultural relic; restoration labs of each other's country is also a part of the agreement.

Based on mutually-agreed terms and conditions, Lok Virsa may organise a week-long exhibition on Pakistani folk arts and crafts in China.

The exhibition aims at introducing the folk life and status quo of cultural heritage of Pakistan to the Chinese through photos, audios and videos.

Reciprocally, Lok Virsa will accept a similar exhibition from China.

In education and research both sides shall support the exchange and cooperation between the China Scholarship Council and the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. The two sides shall facilitate the Pakistani side to send and finance the young teaching staff to pursue master's degree/doctoral degree in China.

In Press and publication, the two sides shall exchange a six-member delegation relating to Press and publication for a period of seven days, and encourage the publishing institutions to participate in the international Book Fair held in each other's country.

In the field of Sports and Youth the two sides shall strengthen the exchange of sports and continue to support the visits of a 100-member youth delegation.

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 Minister 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 said that the economic cooperation, infrastructure development, energy projects and the people-to-people exchanges would enhance contacts, and share and promote the heritage of both the 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 last year, CPEC Cultural Caravan was organised from Xinjiang to Gwadar.

Chinese group of visual artists and performing arts also participated.

She observed that the agreement would translate into extensive cultural contacts between the two countries and also impart sustainability to the cultural ties.

The Minister of State proposed mutual photography exhibition at the Pak-China National Culture Center in Islamabad and also the grant of 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. 

“We can provide training to archaeological professionals in this centre."

Among other things, 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 emphasised the need of formal agreement in establishing archaeological 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," Marriyum said.

China and Pakistan will work closely to upgrade preserve and rehabilitate archaeological sites in Pakistan, she added.

Earlier, talking to media, Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Pak-China friendship was a part of our culture and as a nation all the segments 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 CPEC and the people-oriented projects would also have positive impact on the coming generations.

Lauding the role of Pakistani media regarding CPEC, she said that 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 that 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.