ZHENGZHOU (China), Dec. 15 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang on Tuesday agreed to further strengthen bilateral relations in diverse fields, particularly in economy and energy sectors.

Both leaders discussed bilateral relations and regional situation as they met on the sidelines of 14th SCO Heads of Government meeting here.

Implementation on Economic Corridor Project and energy and infrastructure development projects in Pakistan also featured during the meeting.

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi were also present on the occasion.

The Prime Minister congratulated the Chinese Premier on the successful holding of the 14th SCO Heads of Government meeting.

He felicitated the Chinese leadership and the Communist Party for approval of Yuan by International Monetary Fund (IMF) as Global Reserve Currency and said it was an important milestone in the integration of the Chinese economy into the global financial system and recognition of China as a major financial power.

Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan and China are celebrating the Year of Friendly Exchanges and next year would be marking 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

“We should tap this opportunity to further promote people-to-people contacts,” he added.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif expressed the satisfaction with progress on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project and said Pakistan wanted that all the projects under the CPEC, be implemented in a timely and efficient manner.

He said the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor Project would prove a game-changer in the region.

He said Pakistan considers friendship with China as central pillar of its foreign policy.

He said that cooperation between Pakistan and China was reflection of close friendship between the two countries and the new projects would change to destiny of people of the region. It will create new opportunities for employment and end poverty, he added.

Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan would like Chinese side to allow Pakistan to open a trade cum visa office in Urumqi to facilitate the CPEC projects implementation and people to people exchanges.

He said the progress achieved by handing-taking over of Gwadar Port Free Zone is a good beginning for initiating the process for building the economic zone.

The Prime Minister informed his Chinese counterpart that the operation Zarb-e-Azb in FATA and National Action Plan in the country are being successfully implemented.

He assured his counterpart of the security for Chinese workers and for this purpose a Special Security Division had been set up while Gwadar security force has already been mobilized under the command of a Brigadier.

Both leaders also discussed the Afghan reconciliation process and the recently held Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad in which a Steering Committee comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and US was set up which will supervise the process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and coordinated efforts in this regard.

The Prime Minister also apprised the Chinese Premier of his recent meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi in Paris and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad and said it has yielded encouraging results.

He said both the countries have agreed to resume the comprehensive bilateral dialogue process, which is a welcome sign and development.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan and China are celebrating ‘the year of friendly exchanges’ and next year will be the 65th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.

He said both the countries wanted to further promote people-to-people contacts.

The Prime Minister thanked China’s support for Pakistan being accepted as full member of the SCO.

The Chinese Prime Minister on the occasion said that the relationship between Pakistan and China is deep-rooted between the two peoples.

He said that China supports a strong and stable Pakistan and desires for a much more strong relationship in the future.

Prime Minister Sharif invited the Chinese Premier to visit Pakistan, which he graciously accepted. The dates for which would be mutually finalized.

Later, the Prime Minister departed for Islamabad after concluding his two-day visit to China.