Pakistan and China on Sunday reiterated commitment to cementing bilateral relations in the fields of defence, trade, economy, investment, health, agriculture, science and technology and CPEC to the mutual benefit of the two counties.
The two sides made these commitments at a meeting of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during the former’s maiden visit to China.
According to the Foreign Office, the visit coincided with the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Pakistan. The two leaders held in-depth discussions on the entire gamut of bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of shared interest. The talks were conducted in a warm and friendly atmosphere, in line with the finest tradition of mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries.
According to a joint statement, the two sides agreed that amidst profound regional and international changes, the importance of China-Pakistan strategic relations has assumed even greater significance.
China and Pakistan reaffirmed their strong support for each other’s core interests and major concerns and commitment to deepening strategic communication, including at the highest political level and practical cooperation, and building an even stronger China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era.
The two sides noted with satisfaction the steady growth of economic cooperation between China and Pakistan. In this context, they agreed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has effectively improved Pakistan’s infrastructure and boosted its socio-economic development.
Both sides expressed firm resolve to synergising development strategies, pushing forward all CPEC-related projects in a safe, smooth and high-quality manner, promoting cooperation in areas such as economy and trade, investment, industry, agriculture, health, and science and technology, contributing to the peoples’ well-being and delivering greater benefits to local communities.
Noting with satisfaction the record bilateral trade achieved last year, the two sides agreed to work together to make optimum use of phase-II of CPFTA and work together to diversify their trade ties with deepening cooperation in export-oriented sectors in Pakistan and integrating value chains of the two countries. Both sides also agreed on stronger collaboration in the services sector and skill development in tourism, education, financial and information technology sectors.
They expressed satisfaction over the growing momentum of bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges. They underlined that China-Pakistan defence cooperation was in fact a factor of peace and stability in the region.
The two sides termed terrorism as the common enemy of humanity and strongly condemned the Karachi University terrorist attack. On this, Pakistan reiterated that efforts will be made to speed up investigation, hunt down the culprits, and bring them to justice. Pakistan briefed the Chinese side on its efforts to ensure the safety of all Chinese nationals, projects and institutions in the country.
China appreciated Pakistan’s commitment to the safety and security of Chinese nationals. Pakistan and China will further enhance counter-terrorism and security cooperation. The two sides called on the regional countries and the international community to form synergy and fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The two sides expressed their determination not to allow anyone to damage China-Pakistan iron brotherhood.
In the face of multiple traditional and non-traditional global challenges, the two sides agreed on the need for international cooperation and solidarity. They noted that based on the principles of win-win cooperation and shared benefits, Belt and Road cooperation has become an open and inclusive platform for international cooperation and is widely welcomed as a global public good.
The China-proposed Global Development Initiative (GDI) and Global Security Initiative (GSI) are new initiatives to respond to the pressing challenges facing the humanity.
The two sides discussed the Ukraine situation, noting the necessity of being alert to the negative spillovers of the Ukraine crisis, in particular preventing its impact on developing countries, and called on the relevant parties involved in the conflict to resolve differences and disputes through diplomacy and dialogue.
They reaffirmed the firm commitment to upholding the UN-centered international system, the international order based on international law, and the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN charter, practicing true multilateralism, and promoting democracy and rule of law in international relations.
The two sides hoped that the regional countries would uphold Asian values of mutual respect, equality and win-win cooperation, and build an open and inclusive regional architecture, safeguard peace and stability in the region, and advance common development and prosperity.
Both sides reiterated that a peaceful and prosperous South Asia is in the common interest of all parties.
Situation in held Kashmir
Mr Bhutto-Zardari briefed the Chinese side on the latest developments in India-held Kashmir. The two sides underlined the importance of the peaceful resolution of the dispute based on the UN charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.
Pakistan and China also discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan and agreed that peace and stability in Afghanistan was vital for regional development and prosperity.
Both sides support the continued contribution of the mechanism of coordination and cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries. They also reiterated their readiness to extend CPEC to Afghanistan in consultation with the Afghan interim government and to the mutual benefit of all parties.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari thanked State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for the safe and secure return of Pakistani students in a phased manner to China. The two sides also decided to resume direct flights between the two countries at the earliest and subsequently increase directs flights based on the evolving pandemic situation.