Ministers, adviser highlight expanding Pak-China relations as PM Imran leaves for 4-day visit

Published February 3, 2022
A combination photo of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin (L), Planning Minister Asad Umar (M) and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (R). — PID/APP
A combination photo of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin (L), Planning Minister Asad Umar (M) and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (R). — PID/APP

As Prime Minister Imran Khan left for a four-day visit to China on Thursday, government ministers elaborated on the significance of his trip, saying that it would serve a number of purposes ranging from strategic to economic.

During his visit, the prime minister will attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing and hold bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, the premier's visit from February 3 to 6 has been scheduled on the Chinese leadership's special invitation. He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including members of the cabinet and senior government officials.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said it was a "very important" trip politically and economically. He added that China would be asked to relocate its industry in Pakistan since special economic zones were all ready and it would be a "win-win situation".

"The prime minister will also [ask] them to help us in our agriculture transformation plan because agriculture holds a very important place for us," Tarin said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in a statement carried by Radio Pakistan, said that many Chinese companies were "desirous" of investing in Pakistan and the prime minister was expected to meet many of their heads.

He said relations between the two countries had further strengthened and the premier's visit would further expand them and promote high-level exchanges.

Planning Minister Asad Umar said the trip was coming at a "highly important time". A special book had been prepared which would explain why Pakistan was a prime destination for investment and it would be presented to the Chinese leadership, he shared.

"We believe that there will be further swiftness in the pace of Chinese investments in Pakistan," Umar said.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry echoed the views, saying that the trip would serve to expand Pakistan-China relations.

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf stressed the trip's importance in regards to solving the Afghan crisis, explaining that the issue would be discussed during the visit as well.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood said many aspects of trade would be discussed and there were some areas in the free trade agreement which needed to be "improved".

The prime minister's visit will mark the culmination of celebrations commemorating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China, with more than 140 events organised to showcase the resilience of the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the unfolding international situation.


Additional reporting by Tahir Sherani.

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