ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reached China on Friday for participating in the third China-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.
“On the invitation of the State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will visit China from 23-24 July 2021,” the FO said while announcing the minister’s two-day visit to Beijing.
Mr Qureshi is being accompanied on the trip by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and other senior officials.
ISI Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hamid is also in China for the meeting.
Meeting taking place in aftermath of Dasu attack
“During my meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi we would review the state of bilateral ties,” Mr Qureshi said in a pre-departure statement, adding that agenda of the meeting had both bilateral and strategic content.
Moreover, the two foreign ministers would exchange views on the situation in Afghanistan and other regional developments.
Meanwhile, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, at a media briefing in Beijing, said the third bilateral Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue will “enhance strategic coordination on bilateral cooperation and international and regional issues of common concern”.
The wide-ranging talks, according to the Foreign Office, would cover cooperation in the high-quality development under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), defence and security cooperation, Covid-19 vaccines, counterterrorism and regional and international issues of mutual interest.
The meeting is taking place against the backdrop of July 14 terrorist attack on Chinese workers’ bus in Dasu in which 13 people, including nine Chinese workers, lost their lives. Mr Qureshi and his delegation’s departure also coincided with the repatriation of the remains of the Chinese workers killed in the incident to China.
The Dasu attack accentuated Beijing’s concerns about the security of Chinese installations, projects and personnel in Pakistan. Various Chinese officials in their statements after the Dasu incident underscored the importance their government attaches to the security of their citizens in the country and urged Pakistani authorities to bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack and prevent recurrence of such incidents.
“The two foreign ministers will also exchange views on deepening counterterrorism and security cooperation and ensuring the security of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Pakistan,” Lijian said.
Discussion on CPEC will be high on the agenda. “We will review progress on CPEC and see what has to be done next,” Mr Qureshi said.
The 10th meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the top decision-making forum for the multi-billion-dollar collaborative undertaking, which was scheduled for July 16 was postponed in the aftermath of the Dasu incident.
Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2021