ISLAMABAD, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar recently concluded his significant visit to China, which reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to timely completion of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, a flagship of Belt and Road Initiative, besides profusely advocating the need for collective efforts for regional connectivity and shared prosperity.
The prime minister had been to Beijing, China to participate and address the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the invitation of President Xi Jinping.
Chinese President Xi opened the Forum with about 140 nations in attendance.
Besides PM Kakar, the dignitaries at the forum included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso, Papua New Guinean Prime Minister James Marape, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
Addressing the High-Level Forum of BRF titled ‘Connectivity in an Open Global Economy’, Prime Minister Kakar appreciated President Xi’s vision for creating a global community with shared future and the Belt -and-Road Initiative which held immense significance for global connectivity, common development and shared prosperity.
The visit coincided with another milestone in the bilateral ties as the two countries are celebrating the 10th anniversary of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
In his address, the caretaker prime minister highlighted the crucial role of CPEC in generating new economic opportunities in Pakistan.
Underscoring its salience for Pakistan’s robust economic development, he endorsed the Chinese proposal for developing CPEC as a corridor of growth, innovation, livelihood, green economy, openness and inclusiveness.
He also underlined the need for a united global response to address complex transnational challenges faced by humankind and to prevent backsliding on the gains achieved under UN Sustainable Development Goals and 2030 Agenda.
He emphasised the urgency of addressing infrastructure gaps in the developing world by investing in transportation, energy and digital economy.
On the sidelines of the Forum, he also met with the leaders of different countries including Russia, Kenya and Sri Lanka.
He also held meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang as well as the senior leadership of the Communist Party of China and discussed the ways forward to deepen bilateral relations.
During his meeting with the Chinese president, the two sides, discussed various dimensions of the multi-faceted Pakistan-China relationship, and reaffirmed their longstanding and steadfast friendship, all-weather strategic cooperation, economic and trade ties, and CPEC.
Caretaker Prime Minister Kakar, in a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, reaffirmed the time-tested and iron-clad friendship between Pakistan and China and agreed to further strengthen high-level dialogue and engagement.
“In a warm and cordial atmosphere, leaders of the two countries had in-depth exchanges of views and reached extensive consensus on strengthening the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, practical cooperation in various areas, and international and regional issues of mutual interest,” a joint statement said.
The two sides reaffirmed that mutual trust remained at the core of China-Pakistan relationship.
During an interaction with the Chinese think tanks and scholars, the prime minister termed CPEC a manifestation of strategic relationship which proved as a “catalyst of growth, poverty alleviation and jobs creation”.
Caretaker prime minister also held a meeting with President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, on the margins of 3rd BRF.
The two leaders reviewed bilateral cooperation with a special focus on trade, investment and energy and expressed satisfaction with the steady expansion of Pakistan-Russia relations.
They also discussed the prospects of enhancing Eurasian connectivity and Pakistan’s pivotal role in regional integration through rail, road and energy corridors.
On the sidelines of the BRF, the caretaker prime minister met President of Kazakhstan, Kassym Jomart Tokayev and President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe.
He also met Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of 3rd Belt and Road Forum and discussed the Gaza situation.
Besides, the prime minister held meetings with the leading Chinese companies and encouraged their corporate executives to explore the vast investment potential of Pakistan.
These included CEOs and executives of Chinese enterprises Minmetals, MCC, China Communication Construction Company (CCCC), China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), COFCO, Amer International Group, Power China, China Energy and China Gezhouba Group.
The prime minister apprised the Chinese businessmen of the Pakistan’s initiatives for economic and financial stability.
Sharing Pakistan’s vision for sustainable and inclusive development, he outlined Pakistan’s investor-friendly policies; including the establishment of Special Investment Facilitation Council, which would act as a one-window platform to facilitate foreign investment.
During the visit, the United Energy Group of China and Pakistan Refinery Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the investment worth $1.5 billion in the petroleum sector.
The MoU will help increase the petrol production capacity of the refinery from 250,000 metric tons to 1.6 million metric tons and high-speed diesel from 0.6 million metric tons to 2 million metric tons.
During the visit, the two sides signed 20 agreements and MoUs, covering cooperation on the BRI, infrastructure, mining, industry, green and low-carbon development, health, space cooperation, digital , development cooperation and export of agricultural products to China.
On the last leg of the visit, the prime minister visited Urumqi and met Member of Politburo of CPC’s Central Committee Ma Xingrui besides addressing the students at Xinjiang University.
The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the mining industry, including in the fields of geological survey, joint research on geology and minerals, training of talent, and planning of mining industrial parks, IT, industrialization and agriculture sectors as well.
Earlier, the caretaker prime minister also attended a state banquet hosted by President Xi Jinping for world leaders attending the 3rd Belt and Road Forum in China.
Held at the iconic Great Hall of the Peoples, the State Banquet was attended by the Heads of State/Government of Russia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Hungary, Sri Lanka, Kazhakastan, Uzbekistan, Papua New Guinea, Mozambique and Chile, among several other world leaders.
At the banquet, the prime minister was welcomed by President Xi and First Lady Madame Peng Liyuan.