ISLAMABAD, President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative and the Vice Premier of the State Council of China, Mr. He Lifeng, called on the Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad today.
The conversation was marked by traditional warmth and cordiality that has been the hallmark of Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership. During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on several aspects of bilateral relationship including CPEC and bilateral economic and financial cooperation.
Welcoming Vice-Premier He Lifeng to Pakistan, the Prime Minister congratulated him on being promoted as the Vice-Premier of China in March this year. Appreciating China’s support for Pakistan’s economic development, the Prime Minister observed that as strategic partners and trusted friends, the two countries have always stood by each other in difficult times, as evidenced by Chinese support to Pakistan in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic and devastating floods in Pakistan.
Noting the unanimity of views between the two countries on regional issues, both leaders reiterated their resolve to support each other on all issues of their core interests.
In his remarks, Vice Premier He conveyed President Xi Jinping’s message of China’s firm support to Pakistan’s prosperity and development. Vice Premier He underlined that Pakistan-China friendship was unique and has withstood the vicissitude of time due to deep fraternal ties between the peoples of two nations. He reiterated that as an iron-brother and strategic partner, China would continue its existing economic and financial support to Pakistan. Welcoming the Prime Minister’s vision for deepening trade and investment ties with Pakistan, Vice Premier He conveyed China’s willingness to enhance Pakistan’s agro and food exports to China.
Expressing satisfaction at the steady development of CPEC projects in Pakistan, the two sides agreed on the centrality of CPEC for Pakistan’s socio-economic development and expressed their firm commitment to continue working together for realizing its shared objectives. It was also agreed that 10th anniversary of CPEC celebrations constituted a fresh starting point to further expand CPEC as envisaged by the leadership of the two countries.
The Chinese delegation included Mr Guo Wei, Deputy Secretary General of the State Council of China, Mr Sun Weidong, Vice Minister of Foreign Ministry, Mr Cong Liang, Vice Chairman National Development & Reform Commission, Mr Xuan Changneng, Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Mr Wang Kebing, Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Mr Wang Liping, Director General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce, Ms. Pang Chunxue, Charge d’Affaires, Chinese Embassy Islamabad and other senior Chinese officials.
The Pakistan side included Mr Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Commerce, Mr Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Rana Sanaullah Khan, Minister for Interior, Ms Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister for Information, Mr Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Minister for Railways, Ms Hina Rabbani Khar, MOS for Foreign Affairs, Syed Tariq Fatemi, SAPM and senior officials from relevant ministries.
After the meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Vice Premier He oversaw the ceremony for signing of agreements, MoUs and other documents covering areas including agriculture; industrial cooperation; transport connectivity, etc.
Later, the Prime Minister hosted a luncheon in honour of H.E. Mr. He Lifeng and the accompanying delegation.
Pakistan and China signed six documents that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said would further enhance bilateral cooperation and help undertake the second phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under a new model.
Held at the PM House, the signing ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister Shehbaz and Chinese Vice-Premier He Lifeng, who, along with a delegation, is visiting here to attend the 10th-anniversary celebrations of CPEC.
Both countries signed Document on the Joint cooperation Committee on CPEC; MoU on establishing an export exchange mechanism within the framework of CPEC; a protocol of phytosanitary requirements for the export of dry chilies from Pakistan to China and a Document on the final report on the feasibility study of realignment of KKH Phase-II.
Both sides also signed through diplomatic channels an MoU on the industrial workers exchange program as well as minutes of the 21st conference of a technical committee to promote the strategic ML-1 project.
The prime minister, in his remarks at the signing ceremony, expressed pleasure over the signing of documents and thanked Chinese Vice-Premier He Lifeng for visiting Pakistan to celebrate 10 years of CPEC.
He recalled that 10 years ago, CPEC was signed between that time Prime Minister Nawaz and President Xi Jinping and implementation was started within no time.
“Today we can claim that under CPEC above $25 billion investment took place in power, road, hydel power, and public transport. Now we are entering the second phase. Today, we signed certain important documents which will further enhance cooperation and undertake the second phase of CPEC under a new model,” the PM said.
He said the second phase of CPEC would feature the B2B investment in agriculture and information technology to enable Pakistan to export its products according to Chinese standards and requirements.
The prime minister also thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for sending his special envoy to Pakistan and showing solidarity for people-to-people friendship and showing to the world that both countries were bound in a great and unique relationship.
“We are all-weather friends and iron brothers. This friendship will continue and will not tolerate any kind of obstacle in its way,” he remarked.
He said Pakistan was absolutely ready to contribute to President Xi’s vision of shared prosperity.
Highlighting the importance of ML-1 and Karachi Circular Railway, the prime minister expressed the hope that both projects would be successfully executed to make Pakistan stand on its own feet through the hard work and untiring efforts of both countries.
“It is the Chinese model, It is President Xi Jinping’s model, and will emulate it under the vision of our Pakistan’s founding father late Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to promote prosperity and peace in this country,” he commented.