ISLAMABAD - Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives today (Monday) on a two-day state visit which is his first foreign visit this year and the first state visit by a Chinese President to Pakistan in nine years.

The main roads of the federal capital and all important state buildings, including the Parliament House and the PM House, have been decorated with lights and the flags of China and Pakistan.

A fleet of eight JF-17 Thunder jets will receive the President of People’s Republic of China as his plane enters the Pakistani airspace and escort him to Islamabad airport. A 21-gun salute will be presented to the honorable guest on his landing at the airport.

President Xi Jinping will be received by PM Nawaz, President Mamnoon Hussain and the three services chiefs amongst other officials upon arrival.

President Xi Jinping will meet President Mamnoon Hussain to discuss matters of mutual cooperation whereas the guest will also hold official talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the services chiefs.  A meeting will also be held today with politicians from almost all major parties.

President Xi will address the joint session of the parliament in Islamabad tomorrow to share his views over Pak-China friendship and other issues. He will be conferred the highest civil award Nishan-e-Pakistan. Security has been tightened in the federal capital.

Pakistan and China will sign a number of important agreements and MoUs regarding energy conservation, infrastructure development, economy and communication enhancement.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong in an interview with APP Sunday said Islamabad will get a big boost in efforts to meet its energy shortfall, improve infrastructure and set up industrial parks with the help of Beijing.

“No matter how the international and domestic situations changed, China-Pakistan relationship has always been moving forward,” he said. He said the leadership of the two countries, apart from discussing all aspects of their multifaceted ties, would also focus on energy, transport infrastructure, agriculture, finance, tourism, poverty alleviation and cultural exchanges.

The ambassador described China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as an important part of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road that would run through Asia, Europe and Africa. It would “be a driving force for common development in the region” he said and added that the main purpose was to achieve connectivity of policies, facilities, trade, financial services and people.

“The link would connect vibrant East Asia economic circle at one end and develop European economic circle at the other,” he said and pointed out that it was not a solo initiative by China, “but a symphony performed by all relevant countries.”

He was responding to a question whether he believed that the CPEC was a ‘fate changer’ for Pakistan and the region.

The ambassador said the CPEC was now gradually entering into implementation stage and mentioned various projects already at different stages.

He said the first phase of Bahawalpur 100MW solar power project had been completed, while the second phase of 900MW solar project would be launched soon. Dawood 50MW and Sachal 50MW wind farms would have ground-breaking in near future, while agreement on transmission lines from Matiari to Lahore and Matiari to Faisalabad was expected to be signed soon.

Shahbaz Sharif’s role lauded

During various meetings with Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, heads of Chinese development agencies, investment companies, banks and financial institutions paid rich tributes to his services for giving a practical shape to mutual cooperation and promotion of Pak-China friendship. According to Chinese guests, the efforts of Shahbaz Sharif regarding investment in Punjab, announcement of economic corridor for Pakistan and making the visit of the Chinese President possible are commendable.

He said that China stuck to road of peaceful development aimed at bringing peace and prosperity to its neighbourhood through its development.

“China will not pursue hegemony and the old way of ‘the big bullying the small’. China will unswervingly pursue peaceful means in resolving disputes in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The ambassador said that China was building new type of international relations - meant to replace confrontation with cooperation and replace exclusiveness with win-win cooperation.

“China rejects the practice of zero-sum game and the winner-takes-all approach.”

Citing China’s position on Afghanistan, he said it always supported ‘Afghan-led and Afghan-owned’ reconciliation process and looked forward to a unified, stable, developing and friendly Afghanistan.

The friendship that used to be described as higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, he said, was now called by the young Chinese as Iron Pak.

The ambassador said the two countries had supported each other in hard times.