Better tomorrow rests on enhanced regional connectivity: Sartaj

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ISLAMABAD, May 24 (APP): Advisor to the Prime Minister on
Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Tuesday said the dream of a better tomorrow and `common destiny’ could be achieved through enhanced regional connectivity and integration.

He said termed transnational roads, rails, oil and gas
pipelines, institutions of higher learning, centers of excellence of scientific innovations and better performing financial sector as real drivers of growth.

He was speaking at the Beijing Forum hosted by National
University of Science and Technology (NUST with the theme
‘China and Pakistan in the Community of Common Destiny for All Mankind’.

The Advisor said regional connectivity was also one of the
seven core elements of Pakistan Government’s `Vision 2025′.

Pakistan is strategically located at the confluence of three
vital regions of the world – South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia and provides the shortest access to the sea for all the landlocked countries of Central Asia and to western China, he added.

He said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was the flagship project for realizing this vision and by linking the Gwadar port via the Karakoram Highway with Xinjiang, it was a transformational project for the economies of the two countries.

He observed that CPEC could also be a catalyst for regional
economic integration which was the main objective of building a community of shared destiny.

It would also complement China’s broader vision of building a
Silk Road economic belt and Maritime Silk Road in the 21st century, he added.

Sartaj referring to the celebration of 65th anniversary of the
establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China, said since establishment of ties, their friendship continued to grow from strength to strength in an upward trajectory.

“It is termed as a model state-to-state relationship. Today,
the people of Pakistan consider China as a true and reliable friend.

Likewise, the Chinese people consider Pakistan to be their closest friend and ally,” a press release quoted the Advisor as saying.

Sartaj said the friendship had deep historical roots and built
on absolute convergence of interests that find expression in their united and principled stance on a whole range of international and regional issues etched in their collective memory.

Chairman Peking University Council Prof. Zhu Shan Lu,
Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Pakistan Sun Weidong and Rector NUST Lt. Gen. (R) Muhammad Asghar were also present on the occasion.

Recalling the words of President Xi Jinping during his address
to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 2015, Sartaj said the
concept of `community of common destiny’ coined by the President was a very bold vision and could become the recipe for achieving world peace through development and common prosperity.

“Common development’ and `win-win cooperation’holds the key.

China and Pakistan, through their exemplary ties, can provide a roadmap for realizing this vision,” he added.
He said the emerging mechanism of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with new members, would enable them to ensure mutual security and shared prosperity in the region.

Pakistan shared the same geographical and cultural fabric as
other SCO members, he added.

He also commended the Chinese initiative and leadership in
transforming the multilateral financial system, by establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

He said the Bank’s openness and inclusiveness reflect its
multilateral nature. Its desire to welcome all regional and non-regional countries, developing and developed countries had promoted its image as an `equitable, fair and democratic’ institution.

The Silk Road Fund and the BRICS Bank could also contribute to these objectives.

The Advisor said one of the biggest challenges to global peace and security was the scourge of terrorism which was also a common enemy of Pakistan and China.

“Our two countries are determined to fight the evil forces of
terrorism, separatism and extremism. Over the years, our two countries have been cooperating successfully to frustrate terrorists bent upon undermining our security,” he added.

Sartaj said Pakistan and China were entwined so closely that
any move to hurt China’s security in Xinjiang hurt Pakistan
simultaneously. Our solidarity in this regard was rock solid.

He observed that China recognized the tremendous sacrifices Pakistan had made in the war against terrorism.
“We deeply appreciate China’s support to our efforts to uphold our sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity,” he added.

He said it was his firm belief that China’s leadership was
crucial to lasting peace and stability that South Asia so
desperately needs.

He said Pakistan has great admiration and respect for the
sagacious policies pursued by China to promote regional peace and stability.

“Pakistan has always supported the One China policy. The
Pakistan government fully supports China’s great cause of national unification and all the efforts of the Chinese government in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.

The advisor also commended NUST for holding the Forum in
Islamabad.