Pakistan Ambassador to China, Naghmana Hashmi has said that Pakistan and China have deepened their all-weather cooperation in recent years and have expanded bilateral ties in diverse fields of cooperation for mutual benefit.

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the relevant departments of our two countries have maintained close coordination to ensure that our bilateral cooperation is not affected.

In the past, the two countries have concluded agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in trade, infrastructure, industrial cooperation, and cultural cooperation and devised various mechanisms for their implementation, she said in an interview with China Today.

According to her, “thanks to our bilateral cooperation, Pakistan has succeeded in laying a robust and solid infrastructure network to support its growing economy and overcome festering energy shortages, which had stifled our growth. Both countries now look forward to building upon these gains and extending this cooperation to other unexplored territories,”.

With Chinese assistance, Pakistani government is working on a wide array of projects for socio-economic uplift for the people of Pakistan. The successful conclusion of the Second Phase of China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement has opened a new channel for multiplying our trade volumes.

Moreover she said, “We also plan to deepen practical cooperation in agriculture, forestry, poverty alleviation, tourism, governance, and financial discipline. We are devising policies to attract Chinese entrepreneurs to invest in Pakistan for robust, inclusive, and sustainable growth,”.

During President Arif Alvi’s visit to China in March this year, the two sides signed MoUs to establish two separate joint working groups on agriculture, and science and technology. The two countries also inked several agreements to deepen bilateral cooperation for pest and disease control and combating the coronavirus epidemic.

She expressed the confidence that in line with the vision of our leadership and aspirations of our peoples, our future cooperation in diverse realms of bilateral relations would be dynamic and vibrant, thereby setting a high bar for strong and mutually beneficial inter-state relations.

About China fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, she said that China was the first country to face the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic and the only country in the world to have comprehensively contained the virus.

“After its remarkable progress in the fight against the pandemic, China is now playing a commendable role in the global efforts to battle COVID-19,” she added.

Ambassador Hashmi said, as the primary supplier of COVID-19 relief items, critical medical equipment, and related personal protective equipment for epidemic control and prevention, China’s sincerity and pivotal role in helping the rest of the world contain the epidemic must be acknowledged and appreciated.

More than 180 countries have been ensnared by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan has also been gripped by it with the cases of reported infections and mortality rate rising sharply.

As iron-brothers, all-weather strategic partners, and most reliable friends, China’s state institutions, leading enterprises, and private individuals responded passionately and made generous donations of an overwhelming number of critical supplies and medical equipment to Pakistan.

Besides, China also sent several medical teams to Pakistan to share their expertise and skills with our experts to help them combat the pandemic.

She said during the visit of President Arif Alvi to China in March, the two heads of state witnessed the signing of multiple bilateral cooperation documents to enhance Pakistan’s capability to fight COVID-19. China is also extending support to Pakistan to help build a hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.

This much needed help and assistance, indeed, is emblematic of strong brotherly sentiments that people of the two countries harbor for each other.

“We are grateful to Chinese people for the warm and generous support and help they have extended to Pakistan and look forward for a closer cooperation to continue our fight against this deadly epidemic,” she said.

Ambassador Hashmi said, in the finest tradition of our iron-clad friendship, Pakistan and China have always stood by each other in difficult times. The COVID-19 epidemic tested again the strength of our mutual ties.

In the early phase of the viral epidemic when China was in the throes of a sharp increase of infection cases and mounting number of casualties, Pakistan showed extreme concern for our Chinese brothers and sisters, and extended both material and moral support.

In a show of unanimous support and solidarity with Chinese people and the government, Pakistan donated all of its essential protective equipment to China to help it fight the epidemic; both houses of Parliament of Pakistan also passed resolutions expressing firm solidarity and confidence in Chinese efforts to control the epidemic.

The leaderships of our two countries have always upheld the time-honored tradition of maintaining frequent high-level engagements.

The visit of President Arif Alvi to China in March, however, occurred in a different context and environment. It came at a very special juncture when the Chinese government and people were in the midst of the people’s war against the deadly COVID-19 epidemic.

“The purpose of the visit was to reiterate Pakistan’s firm solidarity and unflinching support to China in this challenging time; express condolences to the bereaved families, and pay tribute to the courage and determination of Chinese people for putting up a heroic fight against the pandemic”, she added.

Ambasador Hashmi remarked that the visit of President Alvi captivated the attention of the Chinese public and reinvigorated our brotherly ties. It sent a very strong signal that the relationship between Pakistan and China is unique, strong, and unprecedented.

“It was a reaffirmation of the unequivocal fact that the momentum of Pakistan-China ties remains unaffected by domestic challenges or adverse global upheavals.

I would remark that the visit has added another chapter to the glorious history of our ties and provided a strong impetus to future growth of bilateral relationship,” she added.

About role of international cooperation in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus, she said the pandemic is the most serious challenge the global community has confronted since World War II.

This crisis could deal a debilitating blow to international economic growth, regional integration, and the progress of globalization, thereby undoing some achievements humankind has made so far.

The current situation, therefore, calls for greater coordination and cooperation in the global community for curbing and comprehensively eliminating this menace.

She said, while developed countries are struggling to marshal resources for mitigating the economic impacts of this pandemic, the developing nations of Asia, Latin America, and Africa will be adversely affected by the looming global recession.

International financial institutions, with the coordination of developed countries, need to offer emergency grants and soft loans to shield them from the impending impacts of the ensuing economic crisis.

“We are also witness to a sinister campaign whereby some political leaders are pushing their narrow-minded political agenda by stigmatizing other countries at this moment; and some also see it as an excuse to resurrect the cold war mentality which we had buried in the last century. We need to be very watchful of this scenario,” she added.

This crisis, instead, should be a moment of reflection for us to revisit and review our previous concepts about issues of health, environment, and economics, and reform them in the light of emergent realities for the benefit of all of humanity.

Perhaps this crisis, colossal as it may be, reaffirms our resolve in multilateralism and might bestow world leaders with clarity and courage to shun isolationism for good, and renew faith in joint efforts for a shared and prosperous future for all, she said.

China, on its part, has displayed openness, transparency, and willingness to cooperate with all parties to combat the pandemic and prevent its recurrence. It immediately shared the genome structure of the virus with the WHO once the country obtained it and kept the avenues of international cooperation and consultations open. China has also provided massive assistance to more than 100 countries to enable them to defeat the pandemic.

Chinese efforts are indicative of its role, as a responsible major power, on matters of global concern and international cooperation.

Pakistan wholeheartedly appreciates Chinese measures and will extend its complete support and assistance in this regard, she said.