Peace, stability in Afghanistan key to regional socio-economic development: FM

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ISLAMABAD, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday reiterated that peace and stability in Afghanistan remained vital for the socio-economic development, connectivity and prosperity of the region.

Addressing a joint press conference with the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang after holding 4th Pakistan China Strategic Dialogue, he said that Pakistan would continue to work together with all the stakeholders for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

While referring to the long-standing and time-tested friendly ties between Pakistan and China, he said the two countries, like in the past, would continue to support each other in the decades to come.

The foreign minister also reiterated Pakistan’s firm support to China on all the core issues, including One-China policy, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea etc.

The minister further termed Pakistan-China friendship as irreversible, ‘a historic reality and a consensus choice of the two nations’.

Bilawal also expressed gratitude to the Chinese leadership for its generous and timely assistance as their country was facing the meltdown effects of the global economy.

About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Bilawal termed it ‘a win-win economic initiative, open to all investors around the world’.

He reiterated the Pakistan’s abiding commitment to its high-quality development, adding the CPEC remained a shining example of the Belt and Road cooperation, which spurred the socio-economic development, job creation and improvement in the livelihoods of the people of Pakistan.

Bilawal appreciated China’s “principled and just stance” on the issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Earlier, addressing a delegation-level meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister at the Foreign Office, he also lauded China’s firm support to the Pakistan’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and national development as well as China’s principled and just stance on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. “There is absolute unison when it comes to the Pak-China strategic partnership,” he added.

He said that China had always proved to be a reliable partner and a trusted friend.

He said that a recent manifestation of this friendship was reflected by the Chinese assistance in the evacuation of Pakistani nationals from Sudan. The friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy, he reiterated.