Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said Pakistan stood ready to work closely with China for realizing the shared vision of connectivity, prosperity and public well-being.
“Pakistan will continue to support Chinese investors with competitive incentives, access to high-quality infrastructure and unwavering security arrangements,” he said in a meeting with Yang Jiechi, Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Director of its Foreign Affairs Commission.
Extending a warm welcome to Director Yang, the prime minister conveyed the most cordial greetings and best wishes for President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.
The prime minister noted that Director Yang’s visit marked the continuation of high-level exchanges between Pakistan and China, which are the hallmark of the time-tested All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the two countries.
He recalled his extensive conversation with Premier Li Keqiang in May 2022, during which both leaders had reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and exchanged views on the regional and international situation.
PM Sharif underscored the significance of Director Yang’s visit for accelerating the implementation of the leaders’ consensus on further enhancing bilateral relations across all domains.
He highlighted that economic cooperation had become a mainstay of the wide-ranging Pakistan-China partnership.
He expressed satisfaction at growing bilateral trade and financial linkages, with China’s unstinting support playing an invaluable role in helping Pakistan offset external shocks to the global economy and demonstrating the continued resilience of Pakistan-China cooperation at a time of heightened uncertainty on the world stage.
The Prime Minister particularly thanked China for renewal of the RMB 15 billion (US $ 2.3 billion) syndicate facility.
He also thanked China for its support and assistance to Pakistan’s efforts towards preventing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic by providing millions of vaccine doses as well as protective and medical equipment.
The prime minister underlined that as a flagship of the visionary Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), CPEC had transformed Pakistan’s economic base and strengthened capacity for self-development.
He reaffirmed the government’s resolve to accelerate the pace and complete CPEC projects at the earliest.
The prime minister also underscored the high importance Pakistan attached to the strategic ML-I and other key projects including Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), Babusar Tunnel, and desalinization plant in Karachi.
The CPEC and growing economic linkages had deepened the roots of the abiding friendship between the peoples of both countries, the prime minister noted.
Atop this unshakeable foundation, the Pakistan-China partnership would continue to play its valuable role as a factor of peace and stability in the region and beyond.
The prime minister reiterated his strong condemnation of the Karachi terrorist attack and underscored Pakistan’s determination to bring the perpetrators to justice.
He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to enhanced measures for safety, security and protection of the Chinese nationals, projects and institutions in the country.
Recalling the recent visit of tri-services delegation to China led by the Chief of Army Staff, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction at the expanding defence and security cooperation between Pakistan and China which was contributing to regional peace and stability.
While emphasizing the need for enhanced people-to-people contacts, he thanked China for facilitating return of Pakistani students to resume their on-campus studies, and expressed hope that the remaining students would be able to return soon.
The prime minister also appreciated Chinese decision for the resumption of PIA flights to China and increasing the frequency of weekly flights.
Exchanging views on international issues of mutual interest, the prime minister highlighted the adverse impact of India’s unabated repression and gross violations of human rights in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The prime minister thanked China for its principled stance and steadfast support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
The prime minister and Director Yang also exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan including the humanitarian and economic crises.
The need for international cooperation and unfreezing of assets to avert humanitarian catastrophe and ease the misery of the Afghan people was underscored.
Reiterating cordial invitation to President Xi Jinping, the prime minister stated that the people of Pakistan were looking forward to welcoming President Xi on his next state visit to Pakistan at the earliest.