ISLAMABAD    -   The Pak-China partnership is key to the regional peace and stability, the all-weather friends said in a joint statement yesterday after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s two-day visit.

The joint statement said: “Both sides reiterated that the time-tested All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between China and Pakistan is an anchor of peace and stability in the region and beyond.”

This partnership, it said, “remains unaffected by any adverse regional and international development and continues to move from strength to strength. Both sides reaffirmed that China-Pakistan relationship is a priority in their foreign policies, and committed to build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era.”

State Councillor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Yi, paid an official visit Pakistan on September 7-8.

During the visit, Wang Yi called on President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, held talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and met with Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa. During the meetings, both sides had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

The ‘iron brothers’ as they call themselves, agreed to maintain frequent mutual visits and meetings at the leadership level and continue to hold bilateral meetings between their leaders on multilateral occasions.

“China and Pakistan have enjoyed mutual understanding and support on issues concerning each other’s core interests. They reiterated the resolve to implement consensus reached by the leadership of both countries to enhance strategic mutual trust and improve all-round cooperation so as to jointly promote regional peace, stability and prosperity,” the statement said.

The Chinese side reaffirmed its support for Pakistan in safeguarding its sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and national dignity, in choosing its development path in light of its national conditions, in working for a better external security environment, and in playing a more constructive role in regional and international issues.

Both the sides believed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as a pioneering project of the Belt and Road Initiative, has entered a new phase of high-quality development.

The two sides agreed to continue to firmly push forward the construction of CPEC, complete its on-going projects in a timely manner, and realize its full potential by focusing on socio-economic development, job creation and better livelihood and accelerating cooperation in industrial parks and agriculture.

Both the sides expressed satisfaction over the close cooperation between the two countries at multilateral fora and resolved to deepen strategic coordination and consultation.

They reaffirmed their commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and support for multilateralism, free trade and win-win cooperation.

They agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation on regional and international affairs. The two sides underlined that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia is in the common interest of all parties. Parties need to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of mutual respect and equality. Both sides further exchanged views on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation, including its concerns, position, and urgent humanitarian issues. The Chinese side responded that it was paying close attention to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation.

“Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation on the Afghanistan issue and support the ‘Afghan-led, Afghan-owned’ peace and reconciliation process,” the statement said.

The two allies, it said, welcomed the positive progress achieved in the negotiations between the Afghan Taliban and the US, and called on all Afghan political stakeholders, including the Afghan Taliban, to start intra-Afghan negotiations to form a future political structure acceptable to all parties and achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan at an early date.