Islamabad, Beijing commit to expanding CPEC

Published March 20, 2023
Pakistani delegation headed by Foreign Secretary Dr Asad Majeed Khan (right) holds talks with Chinese side in Beijing, China, on March 19, 2023. — Picture via Foreign Office
Pakistani delegation headed by Foreign Secretary Dr Asad Majeed Khan (right) holds talks with Chinese side in Beijing, China, on March 19, 2023. — Picture via Foreign Office

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China have reiterated the commitment to expand China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and include third parties in the project to enhance regional connectivity and cooperation.

The two sides “reaffirmed their commitment to CPEC that remained a major pillar of bilateral cooperation and a symbol of ever-deepening friendship”, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office after the third round of Pakistan-China Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) in Beijing.

“The two sides reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, and agreed to expand and reinforce political and security cooperation, bilateral trade, economic and financial cooperation, cultural exchanges, tourism, and people-to-people ties. Pakistan and China will also enhance high-level engagements and dialogue mechanisms and make the channels of communication even more robust,” the FO said.

The Pakistani delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Dr Asad Majeed Khan while the Chinese side was led by Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong.

The two sides agreed to continue engagements and dialogues and make communication channels even more robust.

The foreign secretary thanked the Chinese side for economic support and humanitarian assistance during the devastating floods in 2022.

The Chinese vice foreign minister reaffirmed his country’s support for Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and economic security, according to the statement released on Sunday.

“The two sides exchanged views on a range of regional and global issues of mutual interest and expressed satisfaction over their close cooperation and engagement on important regional developments including in Afghanistan,” it said.

‘Across-the-board support’

In a meeting with Dr Khan, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said China was ready to work with Pakistan “to advance friendly cooperation and promote the construction of CPEC”, according to APP.

The Chinese foreign minister reiterated Beijing’s commitment to the strategic and cooperative partnership between the two countries and agreed to extend “across-the-board support” to Pakistan.

Dr Khan said Pakistan and China would also strengthen coordination on international and regional affairs and consolidate ties, according to the statement.

They also agreed to build on the consensus reached during the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Beijing in November 2022.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2023

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