China-Pakistan relations to get closer and stronger: PM Imran Khan

BEJING, Feb. 7 (APP): Prime Minister, Imran Khan has said that China-Pakistan ties would get stronger and stronger in the future, because of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which connected Pakistan and China and part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of President Xi Jinping.

“CPEC is not just going to connect us, not just about road connectivity, but about cooperation, industrialization, agriculture and tourism, so the relationship between the two countries will just get closer and stronger,” the prime minister said in an interview with Global Times during his four-day visit to China.

About potential development of the CPEC in current year, PM Khan said that the first phase of CPEC was connectivity. As CPEC moved into the second phase it means special economic industrial zones, agriculture, which is Pakistan’s backbone. The main employer in Pakistan was agriculture.

“We expect China to help us increase our productivity in agriculture, then in information, technology and IT. Technology is the future. We are inviting Chinese companies to come to Special Technology Zones, and operate these technology zones. Apart from that, tourism is going to be the future because of interaction between people of the two countries and the connectivity,” he added.


Responding to a question regarding his expectation for the future of China-Pakistan relations, the PM Khan said that Pakistan and China not only saw each other as iron brothers, but they also thought that China and Pakistan relationship was as high as the Himalayas.


“It’s the people-to-people relationship. When you have people to people relationship, it means governments can come and go, but the relationship will always stay because it’s embedded in the people of the two countries,” he added.


The prime minister said that China and Pakistan relationship went back 70 years, and it was an all-weather relationship. “We have stood with each other throughout the 70 years. With other countries, sometimes we’ve had good relationships, and have periods of not so good relationships with them, but with China it’s been consistent for 70 years,” he added.


He said that when the Pakistan contingent was walking in, there was applause in the stadium. Apart from China that received the biggest applause, Pakistan was among the countries that got probably the next biggest applause in the stadium, he said, adding, “We were all very impressed and pleased by that.”


About holding of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in China, PM Khan said that he had played almost 20 years of international sport, but since he became the prime minister, he hardly had any time to watch any international sports.


“So being invited to watch the Winter Olympics was a great pleasure for me. I must say the event was so impressive. I’ve never seen an event like that, those fireworks and especially the effect of lighting. It was just out of this world,” he added.


He remarked that when a country was going up, when it had self-belief, it could reach out to everyone. Only that sort of country could produce the spectacular event he went to last night.


“This is my fourth visit to Beijing as a prime minister. Many years ago, I came when I was just a politician, a member of parliament. China changes every two years. You can’t recognize it. When you come here, you think you’re in a different country. I’ve never seen a country change so quickly in terms of infrastructure,” he added.


He said that t hold Olympics during the pandemic was one of the most difficult things to do. The only way that one country could do it was that it must have incredible discipline.


Regarding collaboration and exchanges between Pakistan and China in field of winter sports, he said that in Pakistan, there was no tradition of winter sports. “Now we are paying attention to winter sports for the first time”, he added.


He said that the main place where both countries could exchange winter sports was in remote northern areas that neighbors China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It was China that had helped Pakistan to build the Karakoram Highway which linked northern areas to other parts of Pakistan, he said, adding some of the top 10 highest mountains were in Pakistan.


“We have high mountains with great skiing slopes. Skardu is right in the northern areas with an international airport. So now, we will have people coming from all over the world,” he added.


PM Khan said that everyone would be watching live the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics in Pakistan and added, “We have a Pakistani competing in this Olympics; we’re coming here to also promote the Olympics in Pakistan.”


About achievements of the Communist Party of China (CPC) for China and the world, he opined that CPC had achieved the greatest achievements in the history of mankind.


CPC had lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty in the last 30 to 40 years. Last year Xi announced the end of extreme poverty in China. There could be no greater achievement than this. This had to be the greatest achievement of any civilization.


“This is where, certainly we in Pakistan, want to learn from China. We’re already learning, we are trying to follow the Chinese model. How do we get people out of poverty? For me, the biggest challenge of a government is to take care of the people who are at the bottom of the social structure. Civilizations are not judged by how the rich people live, it’s how the poor people live,” he added.


PM Khan mentioning the other thing about China, said that it was the culture of meritocracy. “Party School of CPC explained to me how they bring their best people and utilize their talents. That is a very, very impressive thing about China. Any society that has meritocracy will beat those societies which do not have it,” he added.


The prime minister said that another thing that he found fascinating about China was the discipline of its society. No other society had such kind of discipline.


“Again, coming back to the way China’s dealing with COVID-19, when you look around the world, no society is dealt with COVID-19 like China has. When you look at Europe, the US and other countries, there are demonstrations against restrictions, against lockdowns.

But in China, because the people believe in the government and believe that the government looks after them, they impose discipline on themselves. That’s a very impressive treat in China,” he added.