ISLAMABAD - Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Friday said that China was Pakistan's close and iron friend.

Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Pak-China Study Centre along with Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong here, the adviser said that the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project had further strengthened relations between the two countries over the last four years.

He said that the mega project would improve connectivity among peoples in the region.

Aziz said that China was the second biggest economy in the world. He said that both Islamabad and Beijing could make forward movement by taking advantage of each other's experiences.

Aziz said that think tanks in Pakistan must be linked with their counterparts in China to enhance people-to-people cooperation and exchange of knowledge.

He said that China’s rise was creating an atmosphere of harmonious prosperity and they were fortunate to be at the centre of this wave of economic connectivity.

Aziz said there was still room for closer cooperation and exchange of ideas, which would lead to common development.

“Think tanks and study centres are the nerve-centres of ideas and policy initiative, so necessary for overall development and growth of countries. They provide vision and guidelines to embark on the journey of prosperity and progress. Knowledge creation and innovative research is key to excel in this globalised world. In this regard, The Institute of Strategic Studies has rendered outstanding services in excellent research and interaction on strategic and related issues,” he said.

Aziz said that the strategic cooperative partnership must also include enhanced, pragmatic and meaningful cooperation in research, academia and science and technology.

“I am confident that the timely initiative of establishing this centre will provide the policy makers and intelligentsia the key resources to fully understand contours of bilateral relations between Pakistan and China, and also provide opportunities to explore and expand cooperation,” he added.

Aziz said that in the recently held Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, a full session was dedicated to connectivity of think tanks among the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) countries.

“I highlighted the need for closer cooperation among think tanks for exchange of ideas, and the need to come together and pool our intellectual resources. Through knowledge and experience sharing, both countries can learn, grow and progress together in the light of shared vision of common development and shared prosperity,” he recalled.

The Chinese ambassador, while speaking on the occasion said that the establishment of the study centre would help peoples of the two countries better understand each other's policies.

CHINA CALLS TO ENHANCE MILITARY COOPERATION

Agencies add: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat and China's top political Adviser Yu Zhengsheng have held a meeting in Beijing.

The Chinese leader said that Beijing appreciates Pakistani government and military's firm support for China in fighting terrorism.

He called on both sides to enhance military-to-military cooperation so as to safeguard the security of countries as well as regional peace and stability.

General Zubair Mahmood Hayat said that Pakistan intends to increase cooperation between the two countries.

Meanwhile, China and Pakistan on Friday agreed to improve security and anti-terrorism cooperation, to guarantee the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The agreement came out of a meeting between Meng Jianzhu, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and Pakistan's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Zubair Mahmood Hayat.

"China considers terrorism the common enemy of us all. China hopes the two sides will keep in close contact and strengthen coordination in fighting terrorism to ensure safety of the economic corridor, and to maintain the safety and stability of both countries and the region," said Meng, also a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

Zubair said that Pakistan expects better security cooperation with China to guarantee the smooth progress of cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and the building of the economic corridor.