ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Thursday said that Pakistan-China ties were aimed at changing the destiny of the region.

The Prime Minister received Vice Chairman Central Military Commission of China General Zhang Youxia and his delegation at Prime Minister’s Office Islamabad.

Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs Engr Khurrum Dastgir Khan and senior officers were present during the meeting.

Welcoming the Vice Chairman Central Military Commission to Pakistan, as his first foreign destination, the Prime Minister expressed the hope that his visit would further strengthen the existing strategic relations and multifaceted cooperation between Pakistan and China.

The Prime Minister also conveyed his greetings to Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and extended invitation to the Chinese leadership to visit Pakistan.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan welcomes President Xi’s remarks of terming Pakistan a pillar of regional peace and stability and observed that President Xi’s leadership and his vision is a source of inspiration. President Xi’s Belt & Road Initiative of development and connectivity would change the destiny of the region, continued the premier.

The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the thriving Pak-China relations in all fields and expressed the hope that the multifaceted strategic cooperation, including the security and defence ties of the time-tested friends would further strengthen for the shared objective of peace and development in the region.

The Prime Minister reiterated firm commitment of the government for early implementation of all CPEC-related projects which he said would serve as a game changer for the region and would help realising the trade and economic potential existing between the two countries. Regional situation and Pakistan’s efforts for peace and stability in the region also came under discussion.

General Zhang Youxia appreciated the huge sacrifices that Pakistan has made in the war against terrorism and for the peace in the region.

He observed that the immense sacrifices made by the people of Pakistan and its armed forces deserve to be fully recognized by the international community.

Expressing satisfaction over the existing level of defence cooperation and military relations of the two countries, General Zhang Youxia expressed the hope that various international fora including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization would help further cementing these ties and security cooperation between the two countries.

General Zhang Youxia also called on Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ on Thursday. The meeting was followed by delegation level talks.

During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, regional security and enhanced bilateral defence cooperation came under discussion.

COAS said that Pak–China relations are all weather and based on mutual trust and confidence.  Highlighting Pak –China defence and security cooperation, General Zhang Youxia said “China and Pakistan are iron brothers, all weather friends and strategic partners. We share the tradition of mutual understanding, mutual trust and mutual support. China deeply appreciates the achievements of Pakistan Army in counter terrorism and the successful operation in various fields. China values the efforts of Pakistan Army in fighting against all terrorists groups including East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

CPEC is equally beneficial to both China and Pakistan. Both countries are committed to its continuous process and future success. Efforts of Pakistan Army in safeguarding CPEC security are highly appreciated. We look forward to close cooperation with Pakistan to ensure security of CPEC”.

Both sides also signed different MoUs for bilateral defence cooperation.  To pay homage to the martyrs of Pakistan Army, the visiting dignitary laid floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Army presented guard of honour to Vice Chairman of Chinese CMC.