Friday, March 17, 2023
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Dr Asad Majeed Khan called on China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing on Friday for strengthening the bilateral strategic partnership between the two countries.
The foreign secretary reached China yesterday amidst Pakistan's deepening economic woes which have created an urgent need for economic assistance to avert the financial collapse.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the foreign secretary in his conversation with his Chinese counterpart reiterated the brotherhood between the two countries.
“Pakistan and China are iron brothers, trusted friends and enduring partners for peace and development,” Majeed was quoted as saying, adding that Qin Gang had reiterated China’s strong commitment to “China-Pakistan All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership” and to extend continued across-the-board support to Pakistan.
Qin and Majeed reaffirmed the “significance of China-Pakistan strategic ties in the evolving regional and international milieu and noted with satisfaction the steady momentum in the relationship”, the statement further added.
The two also agreed to further build on the consensus reached during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to Beijing in November 2022 to further advance comprehensive cooperation across diverse domains such as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), trade and investment, financial cooperation, socio-economic development, cultural exchanges, and people-to-people ties.
As the country’s economic crisis worsens, it was reported earlier that a Chinese bank had assured Pakistan of providing another refinanced $500 million loan within the next few days.
The total Chinese loan will go up to $1.7 billion out of the total committed amount of $2 billion.
This was one of the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Pakistan must secure the refinancing of commercial loans as well as a rollover on deposits from China during the programme period, which is scheduled to expire in June 2023.
On Thursday, while speaking with the state broadcaster China Global Television Network (CGTN), the foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also said that he would be attending the upcoming Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit — scheduled to take place in autumn.
Bilawal had said that "of course, we will [participate in the BRI summit]. Pakistan has the CPEC which has made immense progress over time, and I look forward to being able to participate in such a summit and share with the world what we've achieved so far, what we plan to achieve together going forward".