Tuesday, November 01, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Ahead of his maiden trip to China, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the revitalisation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be the focus of his discussions with officials in Beijing.
PM Shehbaz Sharif has left for China on a two-day official visit at the invitation of Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.
The high-level delegation includes Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari among others, announced the Foreign Office spokesperson.
Before departing for Beijing, the premier said that he was "honoured to be among the first few leaders to have been invited after the historic 20th National Congress of the CPC".
He said that the second phase of CPEC is expected to usher in a new era of socioeconomic development that will improve the standard of living for our people.
The premier also said that there is a lot to learn from the Chinese economic miracle.
"At a time when the world is grappling with multiple challenges, Pakistan and China stand together as friends and partners," he wrote.
“This would be prime minister’s first visit to China since assuming office in April 2022 and follows his meeting with President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan on September 16," the spokesperson said in a statement.
The prime minister will be among the first leaders to visit Beijing following the historic 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, said the FO spokesperson.
The spokesperson said that the visit is also expected to advance the wide-ranging bilateral cooperation agenda after the conclusion of a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and agreements expected to be signed at the 11th meeting of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC).
“The prime minister’s visit represents the continuity of frequent leadership-level exchanges between Pakistan and China. The prime minister will meet with President Xi Jinping and hold delegation-level talks with Premier Li Keqiang. The two sides will review the all-weather strategic cooperation partnership and exchange views on regional and global developments,” said the spokesperson.
General Manager Digital Media Wing Muhammad Abubakar Umer shared a video showing Beijing decorated with Chinese and Pakistani flags ahead of the PM's arrival.
Before leaving, PM Shehbaz held an in-depth meeting with Chinese ambassador Nong Rong encompassing diverse matters.
The visit would further strengthen trade and economic ties, the PM Office said. Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi also attended the meeting.
A day before the visit, China warmly welcomed Shehbaz Sharif's upcoming visit and said it looked forward to further advancing high-level strategic cooperation between the two countries and bringing more fruitful outcomes from Sino-Pak friendship to the benefit of the two people.
China warmly welcomes him and looks forward to further advancing our high-level strategic cooperation and bringing more fruitful outcomes from our friendship to the benefit of the two people," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhao Lijian said during his briefing held here at the International Press Center (IPC).
Zhao Lijian said that no matter how the international or domestic situations had evolved, China Pakistan friendship had been carried on from generation to generation.
"Our two countries have always supported each other on issues concerning respective major interests and have stood together and helped each other in the face of major natural disasters," he added.
He said that the Chinese side would also like to take this opportunity to commend the major outcomes of CPEC.
The spokesperson said that as a flagship program of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the CPEC has become a landmark of China-Pakistan cooperation, adding, "It has boosted economic development, improved people's livelihoods and generated positive socio-economic effects in Pakistan.
"Zhao Lijian said that recently, the 11th meeting of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) had successfully been held.
Earlier on October 26, the Chinese envoy called on Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal and discussed projects related to the CPEC aimed at the upcoming visit of PM Shehbaz to China.
The meeting, which lasted for an hour, discussed the ongoing projects under CPEC, which will be taken up during the recent visit of premier Shahbaz Sharif to China.
The minister emphasised the importance of several CPEP projects and reiterated that the government is committed to uplifting the CPEC projects.
“The upcoming visit of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif will be significant especially, at a time when President Xi Jinping of China has been elected [for] the third term as China's leader,'' said the minister, while reiterating that the incumbent government has revived the CPEC.
The minister also emphasised the importance of the ML-1 project, Karachi Circular Railways, and several other projects in different sectors like energy, information technology, agriculture, culture, and others.
CPEC projects will have a significant impact on Pakistan’s economy and we are committed to completing the project timely, said the minister, while assuring the Chinese envoy that the government is committed to completing the CPEC projects without any delay and added that self-reliance in the energy sector will stabilize the economy.
Iqbal said that Balochistan's prosperity is connected with the development of Gwadar and the incumbent government will complete all projects under CPEC in Gwadar.
The Chinese ambassador appreciated the efforts of the government especially, the minister for planning and development and assured his complete cooperation.