ZHENGZHOU, China, Dec.14(APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif arrived here Monday on a two-day visit to China to represent Pakistan at the 14th Heads of Government Council meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), being held here in the capital of the central Henan province of China.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is accompanied by Chief Minister of Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal and Special Assistant to the PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and senior government officials.

The Prime Minister was received at the Zhengzhou International Airport by high officials of the Chinese government, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong, Pakistan Ambassador to China Masood Khalid and senior officials of the embassy.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will deliver his statement at the 14th SCO Heads of Government Council Meeting on Tuesday which is scheduled to be attended by Prime Ministers of Russian Federations, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will chair the meeting.

Prime Minister of Belarus, Chief Executive of Afghanistan, Vice Premier of Mongolia, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of India and Minister from Iran will also attend the meeting as representatives of SCO observers countries.

The Prime Minister will also join the SCO Heads of Government at the welcome reception hosted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in honor of the heads of government of SCO member states and observer countries.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will also hold bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on December 15 in which matters of mutual interest will be discussed.

The Prime Minister’s visit emphasizes Pakistan’s association with the nine-member organization comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India and Mongolia, and its desire to deepen partnership with them.

The SCO primarily addresses security issues, but has recently moved to embrace economic and energy projects. Over the past few years, the SCO’s activities have expanded to military cooperation, intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism drills.

The SCO has also intensified its focus on Afghanistan, and may play a greater role in international efforts in the near future.