BEIJING - President Mamnoon Hussain on Wednesday said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a gigantic development project would prove to be a game-changer in transforming the whole region by generating massive trade and economic activity and opening new vistas of progress and prosperity for the people of the two countries and around three billion people of the region. President Mamnoon Hussain said this in his one-to-one meeting with President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping followed by delegation level talks at the Great Hall of the Peoples in Beijing.

The two leaders discussed a whole gamut of bilateral relations and regional and global issues of mutual interest.

Giving details of the two rounds of talks, the Press Secretary to the President said that discussions between the two sides focused on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, enhancing connectivity and further cementing trade and investment ties.

In delegation level talks, President Mamnoon Hussain was assisted by Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms,Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister, Punjab, Syed Tariq Fatemi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs/Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Miftah Ismail, Special Assistant to Prime Minister and Chairman Board of Investment, Rana Sanaullah, Provincial Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Punjab, Suleman Shahbaz, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Adviser to Chief Minister Sindh on Finance & Energy, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, Masood Khalid and Hassan Nawaz Tarar, Secretary Ministry of Planning, Development & Reforms.

At the outset of the meeting, President Mamnoon Hussain congratulated the Chinese President and people of China on the Chinese New Lunar Year and expressed his best wishes for a happy and auspicious Year of the Horse.

Chinese President Xi Jinping while warmly welcoming President Mamnoon Hussain on his first state visit to China said that choosing China for his first State visit abroad after assuming office of the President of Pakistan demonstrated the depth of time-tested friendship between the two countries.

President Xi Jinping said that President Mamnoon’s visit marks yet another important step forward in reinforcing the strategic partnership between the two countries, adding, that it would help opening up new avenues for bilateral cooperation in all fields.

Reciprocating the gesture, President Mamnoon said that the Government and the people of Pakistan highly value their relations with China which are unparalleled in the contemporary era of inter-State relations, adding, that friendship with China was the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy and there is across-the-board political and public agreement on maintaining strong bilateral ties with China.

The two leaders noted with satisfaction that all-weather friendship between Pakistan and China that is based on mutual trust, respect and cooperation transcends the governmental level and has permeated into the level of the people.

The two Presidents expressed satisfaction on the current status of bilateral ties, however, they urged the need for more consistent efforts on both sides to boost bilateral trade from the current over US$ 12 billion to the level commensurate to the huge trade and investment potential existing between the two countries.

Underscoring the importance of greater connectivity between the two countries and the region at large the two sides urged for expeditious completion of all the projects of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which they observed would turn the entire region into a vibrant trade, energy and economic corridor besides boosting Pak- China bilateral trade to new heights.

They expressed hope that the decisions taken during meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) would prove instrumental in implementation of the already identified and mutually agreed projects of the Economic Corridor on fast track basis.

Both the leaders agreed on further enhancing bilateral cooperation encompassing all fields including energy, trade and investment, defence, infrastructure development and people-to-people contacts.

President Mamnoon on the occasion appreciated the unwavering support and assistance of the government and people of China to Pakistan in its socio- economic development and expressed hope that it would continue to the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries.  Pakistan admires the unprecedented progress China has made under the stewardship of Chinese Communist Party, President Mamnoon said and expressed confidence that under the wise leadership of President Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, the Chinese people would add new chapters to their glorious history and attain the “Chinese dream.”

The President said that Pakistan was keen to learn from the Chinese economic and development miracle and benefit from its expertise in various areas including energy, irrigation, agriculture, infrastructure, communications and commerce and trade.

Discussing regional situation, President Mamnoon reiterated Pakistan’s abiding interest in the stability and peace of the region and expressed firm resolve of the democratic government to continue supporting all efforts aimed at bringing peace and stability in the region. Pakistan believes that China is an important factor of peace and stability in the region, he added.

President Mamnoon Hussain cordially invited President Xi Jinping to visit Pakistan this year stating that his visit would add new chapter to the bilateral relations and provide great impetus to further deepen our strategic partnership. The Chinese President accepted the invitation and thanked President Mamnoon for inviting him.

President Mamnoon thanked the Chinese President and government of China for the warm welcome and hospitality being extended to him and his delegation during the visit and said that China was like his second home, adding, that he was pleased to be among “our time-tested friends.”

Soon after the meeting Pakistan and China inked five agreements of bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, regional connectivity, energy, and people-to-people contacts.

The two Presidents who witnessed the signing of bilateral agreements expressed hope that it would bolster bilateral cooperation and further deepen strategic partnership between Pakistan and China.

Earlier, on arrival at the Great Hall of the Peoples, the President was received by the Chinese President and accompanied to the dais where the national anthems of the two countries were played. President Mamnoon Hussain also reviewed the ceremonial guard of honour presented to him by the contingents of Chinese Army, Navy and Air Force.

The Chinese President later hosted banquet for President Mamnoon Hussain and the accompanying delegation at the Great Hall of Peoples.  A group of students of Pakistan Embassy College presented national songs.