ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Saturday signed 15 agreements and documents to further deepen the bilateral cooperation in multiple spheres, including economy, agriculture, law enforcement and technology.
The documents were signed during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China at a ceremony held at Great Hall of People where the two prime ministers also held bilateral meeting. The signed documents encompassed the fields of economy, science and technology, agriculture, poverty reduction, innovation and drug trafficking besides establishing joint research center on earth sciences and working group on social and livelihood affairs.
The ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as the ministers and officials from both the sides signed the documents. From Pakistan side, the documents were signed by Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khalid. Both the countries signed agreements to enhance agriculture and technical cooperation, cooperation between Islamabad police and Beijing police, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and the Science Academy of China and between Pakistan Meteorological Department and Chinese Academy of Sciences. The two countries also signed MoUs for cooperation in forestry, earth sciences and poverty alleviation. They also signed letters on foreign ministers strategic dialogue mechanism to make overall planning and coordinate cooperation in various fields.
Later, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou while briefing the media said the two sides have agreed to firmly move forward the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) while ensuring the smooth operation of the completed projects and advancing the ongoing projects. “The two sides will gradually brand dimensions of industrial cooperation to the CPEC, and extend it to other parts of Pakistan so that it will drive all round development of China-Pakistan economic cooperation,” he added. Ruling out any change in the number of projects under the CPEC, he said there is no change in the number of projects under this framework, adding: “If there is any change, it will be increase in the number of projects and going forward.” The Vice FM said the two countries have decided to establish working group on social and livelihood affairs under the CPEC joint cooperation committee.
He said the two sides would also engage in close cooperation in extensive areas covering economy, trade, science and technology, cultural affairs, education and youth affairs. Kong Xuanyou remarked that the two countries would also strengthen their communication and coordination on regional and global affairs. Moreover, regarding current economic and fiscal difficulties Pakistan is facing at the moment, he said, “China will provide help and assistance within the realm of its capability.” He said during the meeting, the two sides made it clear in principle that China’s government would provide necessary support and assistance to Pakistan in tiding over the current economic difficulties. As far as the specific measures to be taken, the competent authorities of the two countries would have detailed discussions.
The vice foreign minister said he believed all these activities and number of agreements signed today fully show that this is a smooth and a successful visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China. In the meetings and talks, the Chinese side expressed congratulations to the prime minister on successful holding of general elections in Pakistan as well as the smooth transfer of power. China believed that under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Pakistani people would make new achievements in its path of national development, he added. He said as Pakistan is an all-weather strategic cooperative partner, China has always viewed its relations with Pakistan from its strategic and long-term perspective. “China will continue to put its relations with Pakistan on priority and on China’s diplomatic agenda and we will continue to do what we can to provide help to Pakistan for its economic and social development,” he added.
He said the Pakistani side reiterated that Pakistan’s relations with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan foreign policy and Pakistan remained committed to the friendship between the two countries and committed to advancing the CPEC. “Pakistan hopes to learn from China’s successful experience of the development so the friendship and cooperation between our two countries will deliver greater benefits to both the countries and people and the wider region,” he added. The vice foreign minister said the leaders of the two countries made further plans for growth of their bilateral relations moving forward and also vowed to maintain high level engagements, strengthen strategic communication, preserve and promote common interests.
He said Pakistan has a smooth transfer of power and entered a new stage of economic and social development under the new prime minister. He said it is fair to say that the current China-Pakistan relationship is at a new starting point and needed new dynamics against the backdrop of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit which is highly significant.
Both the sides have attached a high importance to this visit and hoped that by working together they will be able to achieve good progress and identify the goals and orientation of China-Pakistan relations in next stage, he added.
(This news/article originally appeared in The News on November 4th, 2018)