Xi unveils five-point agenda in landmark address to Parliament
ISLAMABAD: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday laid out a five-point framework for strategic cooperation with Islamabad, saying Pakistan has a historic opportunity to become an Asian tiger.
President Xi, on last day of his two-day state visit to Pakistan, arrived at the Parliament House this morning amid rousing welcome to address the joint sitting of the Parliament. President Xi is the fourth Chinese president to do so.
In his around 40-minute speech, President Xi highlighted traditional and historic relations between the two countries.
President Xi unveiled a five-point strategic framework to further cement relations and to achieve the goal of peaceful development in future.
Firstly, the Chinese president said that both the countries should strengthen mutual assistance and devise a common strategy for peace and development.
President Xi said that the two countries should adopt foreign policy of peace, adding the defining feature is the deep political mutual trust.
“We should support each other and firmly uphold sovereignty and territorial integrity and mutual respect of each other,” he asserted.
Secondly, the Chinese president said that the two countries should adopt a common development strategy.
He said Pakistan-China Economic Corridor is the focial point of mutual development, adding Gwadar port, energy and industrial projects are the other key areas of cooperation between the two countries.
“The planning and layout this corridor should cover all areas of Pakistan so that entire population of Pakistan can benefit,” he asserted.
President Xi said that multi-billion worth of agreements signed between the two countries would to lead substantial progress in the relation, adding China would continue to play its role.
He said that China would also provide assistance in the development of FATA and setting up small and medium-sized industries in these areas.
Thirdly, President Xi underscored the need to have close cultural and people-to-people exchanges. He said that 2015 is the year of friendly exchanges between the two countries, adding ‘we should continue to send youth groups to each other country.’
Fourthly, Chinese president stressed that both Islamabad and Beijing should stick together and jointly meet security challenges.
“Pakistan has contributed strongly for security along the Chinese western border. We will work with Pakistan to provide reliable security further enhancing bilateral cooperation,” he said.
Fifthly, President Xi said that both the countries should maintain strategic cooperation on international issues.
He appreciated Islamabad’s constructive role in peace process in Afghanistan, adding his country would continue to support Pakistan to bring about Afghan reconciliation.
“We will always give Pakistan priority on our diplomatic agenda,” he added.
All-weather strategic partnership
President Xi said that it is his ‘very first visit’ to Pakitan but Pakistan is not at all unfamiliar to him.
“I have long been fascinated by Pakistan, we are overwhelmed by your hospitality…it is just like coming to the home of a dear brother,” he added.
“We Chinese refer Pakistanis as our good friends, good neighbors, good partners and brothers,” he said, adding they would elevate relations between to all-weather strategic partnership.
“Pakistan is a great country, it is home to a splendid civilization. Pakistanis are kind, brave, dignified and confident people with strong national character,” he said, adding Pakistanis have risen up to various challenges over the past many years.
“Today, Pakistan has a historic development opportunity…to fulfill its dream of becoming an Asian tiger,” he said, referring to cooperation in the economic field between the two countries.
‘Deeper than Ocean’
Earlier, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq welcomed the visiting dignitary and hailed his country’s contribution to help boost Pakistan’s economy.
“Pak-China friendly relations are genuinely deeper than the ocean. Our friendship is based on mutual interest and respect,” he said in his welcoming note.
The Speaker said Pakistan and China are pursuing a joint policy for peace and stability in the region, and both are committed to eradicate terrorism.
“We are thankful to our sincere friend for its assistance against terrorism,” he said.
The speaker said Xi Jinping is fourth Chinese president to address Pakistan’s Parliament, and that it was first address by any foreign head of state to the current Parliament.
National anthems of China and Pakistan were played at the joint session of the Parliament that was being attended by all political leaders and three services chiefs. – Samaa