LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif met Chinese vice-prime minister Zhang Gaoli in Beijing yesterday, in which both sides agreed to take effective measures to promote contacts between Communist Party of China and Pakistan Muslim League-N.

The Chinese vice-PM stressed the need of exploring new avenues for strengthening contacts between the two political parties while assuring to extend all-out cooperation for this purpose.

“China is fully aware of the importance of Punjab with regard to economic cooperation between the two countries,” the Chinese said while expressing his wishes for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is recovering after an open heart surgery in London last month.

CM Shehbaz told Gaoli that the Communist Party of China has full support of Pakistani people. He said that socialist ideology and the force of great historical heritage of China are behind the unprecedented progress of the country. He affirmed that all necessary measures are being taken for the security of Chinese nationals in Pakistan and on the occasion of 65th anniversary of Pak-China relationship there is a need to pledge that mutual cooperation between the two countries will be fully utilised for the betterment and prosperity of the masses.

The CM stated that Pakistan is the best partner of China in the strategy for transfer of Chinese technology and industries and joint efforts will be made for this purpose.

The chief minister also met Chairperson Exim Bank of China Hu Xiaolian in Beijing, who paid historic tributes to the speed of implementation of projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Xiaolin said that term ‘Shen-zhen Speed’ was used for speedy completion of projects in China but now Punjab has left this term far behind and the term ‘Punjab Speed’ is used in China with regard to rapid execution of projects.

She further said that the Chinese investment in Pakistan will increase manifold in the days to come and a number of projects are being completed in Punjab with the investment of billions of dollars by Exim Bank.

Shen-zhen is among those cities of China where the first industrial economic zone was set up and Chinese surprised the whole world by its rapid growth.

Talking to the Exim Bank chairperson, Shehbaz Sharif said that Pak-China friendship has become an example all over the world and it is based on honesty, trust and transparency. He said that Chinese financial institutions are playing a historic role in the promotion of Pak-China cooperation through timely and uninterrupted completion of projects in Punjab.

He thanked the Exim Bank for timely provision of funds for Lahore Orange Line Metro Train project.

Meanwhile, CM Shehbaz met China Minister for International Department Song Tao in Beijing who said that the relations between Communist Party of China and Pakistan Muslim League-N are ideal and ties between the two parties have strengthened in the tenure of PM Nawaz Sharif. Tao said that exchange of delegations at the party level with Pakistan will be welcomed and it is his desire that maximum number of youth delegations of the party should be sent to China.

He further assured the CM that China will stand behind Pakistan in every hour of need.

Shehbaz Sharif said that the Communist Party, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang have played a key role in making China the second biggest economic power of the world and the progress made by China is the result of hard work and sacrifices of Chinese leadership and people.

The chief minister also delivered letters of Pakistani premier to Chinese minister for the President and Prime Minister of China. An agreement was also signed in Beijing for setting up an industrial park in Punjab. Under the agreement, Chinese investors and industrialists will construct an industrial park in Chunian Industrial Estate.

Chinese investors in private sector will set up factories in the industrial park spreading over an area of 2000 acres. The project will cost Rs20 billion.

The agreement has been made between Gharibwal Cement Group and China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITC).

Meanwhile, Director General Chinese Ministry of Industries & Information Technology Luo Min met CM Shehbaz and discussed the matters regarding promotion of cooperation to accelerate industrial process and information technology.

Shi Rongyao, chairman of an organisation of 300 industrial estates, also called on CM Shehbaz Sharif.