Friday, May 12, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with four chief ministers and several federal ministers reached China on a six-day official visit on Friday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has invited the premier to attend the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.
In the six-day sojourn, the premier is also scheduled to meet high-level Chinese leadership.
Sharif is accompanied by chief ministers of all four provinces, as well as Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Railways Minister Saad Rafique, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir and IT Minister Anushay Rehman, among others.
The high-level delegation left Friday morning in a special plane from Islamabad airport.
“Pakistan is an important partner of China in promoting One Belt One Road Initiative and we believe that Prime Minister Sharif’s visit and his attendance at the forum will give a boost to our cooperation in the relevant fields,” Geng Shuang — a spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry — said while responding to a question during his regular press briefing.
The spokesperson said, as an organiser and host of the forum, China will warmly welcome all the guests from around the world, including Pakistan.
He said the CPEC is a premier and pilot project of the One Belt One Road Initiative and progress has already made in this regard.
“The forum will be held from May 14, 15 and we all are looking forward to it,” he added.
According to official sources, during his stay in China, the prime minister will also hold important meetings with the top Chinese leadership, particularly Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Kaqiang, to further promote bilateral relations between the two countries.
On the first day of the forum, the prime minister will attend the inaugural session of the One Belt One Road Summit, a plenary meeting of high-level dialogue and the state banquet.
The prime minister will also attend leaders’ roundtable sessions scheduled to be held on the second day of the forum.
As many as 28 heads of state and government, over 50 leaders of international organisations, over 100 ministerial-level officials, as well as over 1,200 delegates from various countries and regions will participate in the forum.
The forum will build consensus and connect development strategies of various countries and will also examine cooperation in key areas and finalise major projects in infrastructure connectivity, trade and investment, financial support and people-to-people exchanges, according to a senior official of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Medium and long term cooperation initiatives will be announced and long-term cooperation mechanisms explored to build a closer and more result-oriented network of partnerships, he added.