ISLAMABAD    -   Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said that Pakistan-China friendship is much above the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and it covers wide spectrum of bilateral interest.

The envoy, who has completed his tenure in Pakistan and will soon leave for Beijing said at a farewell reception that the multi-billion-dollar CPEC had definitely strengthened the existing friendship, Gwadar Pro reported. 

“CPEC is not the whole thing. We were friends even before the CPEC. There is no doubt CPEC has strengthened the bonds further but the brotherhood is much above a project,” he said to a loud applause by the journalists who had come to say good-bye to a friend of Pakistan.

Born in April 1969, Yao Jing had entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1991. He held various posts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until he was appointed Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan in October 2015.

On October 11, 2017, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani bestowed its ‘Said Dzemarudin Afghani’ medal upon him for his efforts to promote China-Afghanistan bilateral relations.

On December 14, 2017, he was appointed and then approved by 12th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress as the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, replacing Sun Weidong.

Nong Rong, Head of Ethnic Affairs Commission of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has now been nominated as the new envoy. Ambassador Yao Jing has already held a number of farewell meetings with the Pakistani dignitaries in the recent days.

Speaking at the reception with an emotional and victorious voice, the senior diplomat said CPEC cannot be stopped or delayed on the wishes of the conspirators.

“Yes, there are conspiracies but CPEC is going on smoothly. I am very satisfied with the pace of work. Let the conspirators do their job as we focus on development and prosperity,” he remarked.

The envoy said he will miss Pakistan as he had spent 11 years of his career in the country under different capacities. “When I first came to Pakistan, I was a junior diplomat. And as I complete my tenure now as the ambassador, I am more in love with Pakistan. I don’t know when I will return to Pakistan but my heart and soul will remain in Pakistan,” he said amid thumping of desks and clapping.

The envoy also candidly answered questions by the journalists. To a query on the standoff with India, he said China wanted peace in the region and the world.“This time three standoff started at a difficult time. India provoked this. We hope India can be more responsible. Peace is important. We would like to tell India please don’t cross over. Aggression is bad. We will not compromise on sovereignty,” he warned.To a question about President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan, Yao Jing said, “Our President happily accepted the invitation by PM Imran Khan.”