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ISLAMABAD, Sep 8 (APP):Pakistan and China Saturday reiterated the resolve to take the traditional friendship and all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries to new heights while giving thrust in key areas of economic, trade and defence sectors.
The two sides expressed their convergence of opinion that social economic development would be an important area under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) cooperation between the two countries.
Addressing a joint press conference here after their delegation-level talks, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said being ‘iron brothers’ both countries were supporting each other on various international fora and shared the common principles on different international and regional issues.
He said enhancing the all weather strategic partnership with China was the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. During today’s bilateral talks, they had identified ten areas of cooperation to further the objectives of close relationship and gave impetus to about 20 ongoing projects under the umbrella of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which was expected to create 70,000 jobs.
He said Pakistan was willing to continue collaborating with China on CPEC, which was the fast moving flagship project of One Belt, One Road initiative. It showed the proof of serious and active engagement of all the stakeholders in private and public sectors in both counties.
Qureshi further informed that they also discussed threadbare the impressing issues and the need to keep close communication on global issues.
Both sides had always supported each other on different international issues, he said and expressed gratitude to the Chinese leadership on part of the government of Pakistan and its people for the continued support.
The minister also assured his Chinese counterpart that earlier implementation of CPEC projects would be made by exploring the new avenues.
Qureshi also assured security of the Chinese people working on different CPEC projects and said secure environment would be provided to them by the security forces. The CPEC was an evolving project and its foundations were being laid through better infrastructure, power and energy projects.
To a query, he said with the passage of time, CPEC would take its shape in line with the expectations of the people of Pakistan, resulting in the social economic uplift of the people of Pakistan.
He said they also agreed the importance of relocation of industry, vocational training for making our people more productive, strengthening of agricultural base and the opportunities provided to farmers.
The export of Pak agri-produce to China and implementation on the Special Economic Zones were also discussed. He said the trade possibilities of Pak exports to China with provision of subsidies could remove imbalance of trade.
He said he had also discussed the priorities of the PTI’s led government including poverty alleviation, rooting out corruption and social development.
The minister said Pakistan has made huge strides in combating terrorism and it also condemned the terrorist activities by any individual or groups. The Chinese government supported Pakistan’s contributions in this regard.
China recognized the immense contributions and sacrifices and fully supported Pakistan in its efforts and urged the international community to also acknowledge its contributions in the war on terror which was a global issue.
He said they were thankful to the Chinese government and its leadership for sending congratulatory messages and phone calls to the newly elected leadership of Pakistan.
He further informed that China had invited Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit China on an official visit during November as a guest of honour at an international import expo.
The minister said he also conveyed Pakistan’s consistent support to China and expressed gratitude for China’s active support to Pakistan for becoming a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Qureshi said he also shared with his Chinese counterpart the outcome of his discussion with US Secretary Mike Pompeo.
The minister underlined the importance of defence cooperation with China especially keeping in view Pakistan’s urgent needs in the evolving regional scenario and the cooperation to counter terrorism and collectively to take out terrorists’ threats in the region.
He said Chinese foreign minister’s visit was the first high level contact from the Chinese leadership after formation of the new government in Pakistan.
The minister also lauded the contributions of Wang Yi for promotion of the friendship and bilateral ties between the two countries.
Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi reiterated his government’s commitment to work closely with the new government of Pakistan to achieve the shared goals of prosperity and development of the people of Pakistan.
He expressed the hope that the people of Pakistan would overcome their issues under the new elected leadership.
Terming Pakistan as ‘good friend and partner’ the minister said China and Pakistan were tied closely with strategic partnership based upon the mutual support and understanding.
Referring to proverbial term ‘iron brother’ Wang Yi said their friendship always stood tests of the time and international changes, as these were strong and unbreakable, deeply rooted in the hearts of the people of two countries.
About his visit to Islamabad, he said China would continue its support to Pakistan and accorded highest priority to its relations with Pakistan. He said during delegation level talks, they had discussed ten points and agreed to further cement the existing excellent cooperation.
He said issues of close strategic partnership, implementation of CPEC projects, facilitating export from Pakistan, improving the local manufacturing factories and its integration at the international manufacturing at the fast space, poverty alleviation and job creation were deliberated thoroughly and unanimity of views were expressed.
He said China was keen to further increase this cooperation in the agricultural, education and healthcare sectors to benefit Pakistani people, besides stressing upon enhanced cooperation and interaction in defence and security.
Minister Wang Yi also acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and extended full support to all its efforts to eliminate terrorism.
He also underlined the need to further increase people to people to contacts and exchanges of delegations of the young people. He announced that they would take steps to further facilitate Pakistani citizens visiting China.
On international cooperation, he stressed upon the significance of reconciliation and peace process in Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan always stood with China in difficult times and the Chinese leadership wanted to reciprocate the same with fast implementation of CPEC.
He said China had been financially assisting the CPEC projects with concessional loans. The project was set to create about 70,000 jobs and its fruits would not be confined to one specific group or area, but would benefit the whole country and result in the overall development of the people of Pakistan.
The Chinese minister also highlighted the importance of the availability of energy and power for running the industry in Pakistan and said efforts were being made to overcome the issue through early harvesting projects in this regard.