Says China supportive of Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir
BEIJING: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Saturday said that his government was making all out efforts for active implementation of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) though it had made good progress in execution of energy and infrastructure projects.
“China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a core component of your visionary initiative of the ‘One Belt-One Road (OBOR).’ We sincerely appreciate your commitment and leadership for the realisation of CPEC projects,” the Prime Minister remarked in his meeting with President Xi Jinping at Great Hall of China, on the sidelines of the ‘Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.’
The Forum will be hosted by Chinese government on May 14-15. It will be attended by 29 heads of state and government besides delegates from around 130 countries. On his arrival at Great Hall of China, the Prime Minster was received by President Xi and both the leaders shook hands.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister was accompanied by Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Pervaiz Khattak and Chief Minister Balochistan Sanaulllah Zahri.
Besides Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq, State Minister for IT Anusha Rehman and Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz also comprised the prime minister’s delegation.
President Xi Jinping was also accompanied by his high level nine-member delegation. The Prime Minister also stressed for accelerating the implementation of projects in Gwadar and establishment of Special Economic and Industrial Zones. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the composition of his delegation represented the strong bonds of friendship between the two countries.
“The presence of all four provincial chief ministers symbolises the broad-based support in Pakistan for cooperation with China and CPEC,” he remarked. He said, “Pakistan stood with China for promotion of President Xi Jinping’s visionary initiative of One Belt and One Road (OBOR).”
The Prime Minister congratulated President Xi on successful holding of the Belt and Road Forum and said, “The participation of a large number of world leaders in Chinese capital was a testimony of his leadership and China’s growing stature in the international community.”
The Prime Minister said, “Pakistan-China friendship enjoyed popular support in Pakistan and high-level exchanges were indicative of the bilateral fast-growing bilateral relations.” However, he also stressed the need to sustain the momentum with a view to further strengthening of this relationship.
In his remarks, President Xi Jinping welcomed the prime minister and his delegation for attending the Forum. He expressed his satisfaction over the pace of growing bilateral ties and resolved to cement the ties further by enhancing cooperation in multiple spheres.
He said, “The two countries had more potential to strengthen bilateral cooperation vis-a-vis implementation of CPEC and other regional connectivity projects.”
Earlier, the Prime Minister held meeting with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang at the Peoples Great Hall. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment for completion of early harvest projects under CPEC. Nawaz Sharif felicitated the Chinese Premier for organizing the Belt And Road Forum and said, “Pakistan considers China as the most important friend and fully supports the Chinese vision of One Belt One Road.”
The Prime Minister informed the Chinese premier that, “Pakistani delegation that will attend the forum also includes all the four chief ministers.” “This reflects that the entire Pakistani nation harbors a united stance on CPEC,” added the Prime Minister.
Later, a series of agreements were between Pakistan and China for cooperation in different sectors. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Chinese premier Li Keqiang. Federal Ministers, Advisor on Foreign Affairs and Chief Ministers of all four provinces were also present on the occasion.
The first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) related to cooperation within the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road initiative. An MoU was also signed on upgradation of main railway line track ML-I and establishment of Havelian Dry Port.
Three agreements were pertaining to economic and technical cooperation worth 3.4 billion Yuan for Gwadar port and East Bay expressway. Talking to media following his meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, “China was supportive of Pakistan’s stance on the issue of Kashmir and favoured its resolution through peaceful dialogue.”
“On Kashmir issue, China has always been supportive of Pakistan’s stance and has assured to continue extending the same cooperation in future as well.” The Prime Minister said, “Both Pakistan and China favoured negotiations with India as the “most viable solution to the Kashmir dispute.”
He said, “The scope of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had immensely increased with the Chinese investment swelling from 46 to 56 billion dollars.” He said, “Such a huge investment was unprecedented in Pakistan’s history, having objectives of progress and prosperity of the people.”
He mentioned that, “Chinese companies were investing in Pakistan’s power and infrastructure sectors at a massive scale, which had generated exemplary employment opportunities for the local people.” The Prime Minister said, “The economic activity as a result of heavy Chinese investment had caste a positive impact on the lives of the common people.”
Nawaz Sharif said his visit to China was significant in relevance with the economic conditions of Pakistan, adding “Pakistan was proud of its friendship with China.” Flanked by Balochistan’s Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, the Prime Minister said, “Economic development in the province was getting good results and several projects under CPEC were being completed at a fast pace.” NNI