PM Imran embarks on third official visit to China

Updated October 07, 2019

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Prime Minister Imran Khan will head to China on Monday for an official visit in order to discuss issues of regional and bilateral importance with the Chinese leadership, Radio Pakistan reported.
 — Reuters/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan will head to China on Monday for an official visit in order to discuss issues of regional and bilateral importance with the Chinese leadership, Radio Pakistan reported. — Reuters/File

Prime Minister Imran Khan has left for China on Monday for an official visit in order to discuss issues of regional and bilateral importance with the Chinese leadership, Radio Pakistan reported.

He will meet separately with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

According to an statement of the Foreign Office (FO), the prime minister was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar and others.

According to the state-run radio service, the premier will discuss expansion of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and cooperation in the agriculture, industrial and socio-economic sectors.

Last week, Prime Minister Imran said that the removal of all bottlenecks in CPEC projects and their timely completion was the top priority of the government.

Amid a perceived slowdown on CPEC, the federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar on Sunday said Pakistan would engage China at the highest level for talks on several big projects in the fields of hydropower, oil refinery and steel mills.

During the premier's visit, the two sides will discuss the "immediate implementation" of the second phase of the China-Pakistan free trade agreement (FTA). They will also discuss the abolition of the quota for all Pakistani agro products, Radio Pakistan added.

The prime minister is also expected to address the China Pakistan Business Forum in Beijing and to meet with Chinese entrepreneurs as well as the heads of different companies, Radio Pakistan reported.

This is the premier's third visit to China in less than a year.

In April, he visited Beijing to attend the second Belt and Road Forum and for talks with the Chinese leadership on the expanded CPEC. His first official visit had come in November last year.

Army chief in China

Ahead of the premier's departure, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in China on an official visit, the military's media wing said.

The army chief is scheduled to meet the Chinese military leadership including the Peoples Liberation Army commander, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and commander Southern Theater Command.

He will also join Prime Minister Imran's meetings with the Chinese premier and President Xi, the Inter-Services Public Relations said.