Pakistan and China have vowed to increase their cooperation on the economic front while reaffirming their resolve to batter down the common threat of terrorism.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited Guangzhou on 21-22 May 2022 for his first official bilateral visit at the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister H.E. Wang Yi, H.E.
The foreign minister also rose the issue of Pakistani students enrolled in Chinese universities and not being allowed to return to China since the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020.
Pakitan and China have agreed on phase-wise return of Pakistani students to China.
A statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the visit coincided with the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Pakistan.
During the visit, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari 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.
Both sides agreed that amidst profound regional and international changes, the importance of China-Pakistan strategic relations has assumed even greater significance.
As all-weather strategic cooperative partners, China and Pakistan share ironclad mutual trust and friendship, which is a source of peace, stability, and prosperity for the region and beyond, the statemente read.
Both sides 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.
Both sides noted with satisfaction the steady growth of economic cooperation between China and Pakistan. In this context, they agreed that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has effectively improved Pakistan’s infrastructure and boosted its socio-economic development.
Both foreign ministers also expressed firm resolve to synergizing development strategies, pushing forward all CPEC 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.
With record bilateral trade achieved last year, China and Pakistan 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 the areas of tourism, education, financial and information technology sectors.
The two sides expressed satisfaction at the growing momentum of bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges and underlined that China-Pakistan defense cooperation was in fact a factor of peace and stability in the region.
Terrorism common enemy
Both countries termed terrorism as the common enemy of humanity and strongly condemned the Karachi University Confucius Institute terrorist attack.
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 and agreed to further enhance counter-terrorism and security cooperation.
Both nations called on regional countries and the international community to form synergy and fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The foreign ministers also expressed their determination not to allow anyone to damage China-Pakistan iron brotherhood.
China, Pakistan resonate on global issues
In the face of multiple traditional and non-traditional global challenges, both 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.
China-proposed Global Development Initiative (GDI) and Global Security Initiative (GSI) are new initiatives to respond to the pressing challenges facing humanity. Both nations stand ready to work with other countries to focus on the development agenda, tackle security challenges, implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind, the statement said.
Both sides also 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 relevant parties involved in the conflict to resolve differences and disputes through diplomacy and dialogue.
Both sides 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.
China and Pakistan underscored that Asia, with its rich history, civilizational heritage, and growing economic potential, is playing a leading role in peace, prosperity, and economic development in the region and beyond.
They hoped that in the pursuance of these cherished goals, the regional countries would uphold Asian values of mutual respect, equality, and win-win cooperation, build an open and inclusive regional architecture, safeguard peace and stability in the region, and advance common development and prosperity.
China and Pakistan exhort that a peaceful and prosperous South Asia is in the common interest of all parties. Given the challenges faced by the peoples of the region, due to global pandemic, soaring commodity prices, climate change, and poverty, it is critical to resolving all outstanding disputes to promote regional cooperation and advance the goals of lasting peace, stability, and shared prosperity.
FM Bilawal also briefed the Chinese side about the latest developments in Jammu & Kashmir and both sides underlined the importance of the peaceful resolution of the dispute based on the UN Charter, relevant UNSC resolutions, and bilateral agreements.
The officials from both countries also discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan. The two sides agreed that peace and stability in Afghanistan were vital for regional development and prosperity.
They called upon the Afghan interim government to develop a broad-based and inclusive political structure, adopt moderate and sound internal and external policies, protect the rights of women and children and ensure that the Afghan soil is not used against any of its neighbors.
Both sides call on the international community to help avert the humanitarian crisis and earnestly honor the pledges on Afghanistan’s economic reconstruction and future development.
The statement said China and Pakistan support the continued contribution of the mechanism of coordination and cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighboring countries and expressed readiness to work with all parties to implement the Tunxi Initiative of the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan on supporting economic reconstruction and practical cooperation with Afghanistan and provide all possible support for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.
Both nations also reiterated their readiness to extend CPEC to Afghanistan in consultation with the Afghan interim government and for the mutual benefit of all parties.
FM Bilawal thanked his Chinese counterpart 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 carried out by Pakistan airlines at the earliest and subsequently increase direct flights based on the evolving pandemic situation.
FM Bilawal also thanked China for the hospitality extended to him and his delegation in the finest Chinese tradition of hospitality. H.E. Wang Yi accepted his invitation to visit Pakistan for Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue.