ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday conveyed to Chinese leadership that the people of Pakistan were keenly looking forward to welcoming President Xi Jinping to Pakistan.

Talking to China’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Yao Jing, who paid a farewell call him here, the prime minister appreciated and emphasised that the Chinese leadership had played a remarkable role in China’s socio-economic transformation and there was a lot to learn from Beijing’s example of economic development and poverty alleviation.

He also lauded the efforts of Ambassador Yao in further deepening and strengthening the Pak-China “all-weather strategic cooperative partnership”.

The Prime Minister underlined that during the outgoing Ambassador’s tenure, CPEC had entered the second phase focusing on industrialization, agriculture and socio-economic development and would play a key role in promoting regional growth and prosperity.

He appreciated Ambassador Yao Jing’s overall contribution to the Pakistan-China partnership and wished him well in his future endeavours.

Ambassador Yao thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for the leadership role he had played in further solidifying and deepening Pakistan’s relationship with China which was greatly valued by the Chinese leaders at the highest level.

Ambassador Yao underlined that the Prime Minister’s vision and leadership was instrumental in Pakistan’s transformation.

He emphasized that with Prime Minister’s personal focus on poverty alleviation and people-centered approach, CPEC had entered into its second phase and will deliver substantial and immense benefits not only to people of Pakistan but also the entire region.

Ambassador Yao stated that Pakistan’s policy of “smart lockdown” in containing COVID-19 was internationally recognized and could be followed as a model by others to deal with a possible second wave of COVID-19.

He maintained that he will have very fond memories of Pakistan and would wish to see the Pakistan-China relationship further strengthened. He emphasized that China would continue to support Pakistan in pursuit of its national development and objectives.

Ambassador Yao Jing served in Islamabad from October 2017 to September 2020. This was his third assignment in Pakistan.