Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan will map out strategic arrangements and a long-term plan for the future development of China-Pakistan relations, lift their strategic cooperative partnership and give an impetus to their ties, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said in an interview.
President Xi will pay a state visit to Pakistan on Monday at the invitation of Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The two-day visit will be his first trip to the South Asian country since he assumed the presidency in 2013.
Sun said since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1951, the bilateral relations have been cultivated by the leaders of the two countries and applauded by the two peoples, and the China-Pakistan friendship has withstood the test of the changes of the times and international politics, and has become a fine example of friendly state-to-state interactions.
The Chinese have invented a unique name “Iron Pak” for Pakistan, a vivid description for the special, friendly and unshakable ties between the two countries, the Chinese ambassador told Xinhua in an interview.
Upholding moral principles, mutual respect and standing together in times of need, among others, have contributed to the “Iron brotherhood” between the two countries, he summarized.
Both China and Pakistan regard the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as the basic norms governing the state-to-state relations, uphold fairness and justice in international affairs and maintain the common interests of developing countries, the ambassador said.
“Pakistan has firmly supported China in its core interests such as the issues of Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, and China, for its part, has consistently supported Pakistan in safeguarding independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and defending national dignity, and provided sincere and selfless assistance to Pakistan in achieving economic development and social stability.”
China and Pakistan have always respected each other, treated each other with all sincerity and shared the same feeling in the development of bilateral ties, Sun said.
“The two sides have always conducted close consultations and communications, tried their best to put themselves in the other’s shoes and never foisted one’s will on the other side in the cooperation.”
Islamabad rendered tremendous support to Beijing at critical moments in the last century when China sought to break the external blockade, restore its lawful seat at the United Nations and realize the normalization of ties with the United States. Furthermore, Pakistan also extended a helping hand to China by providing over 22,000 tents, the entire strategic reserve of Pakistan, after a devastating earthquake jolted Wenchuan, China’s southwestern Sichuan province, in May 2008, he said.
China, for its part, was the first country to offer assistance for its affected people when Pakistan was hit by a catastrophic flood in 2010, and most recently, a Chinese naval vessel helped Pakistan evacuate 176 nationals from war-torn Yemen, said the Chinese ambassador.
The two countries have maintained good momentum in developing bilateral ties and their cooperation featured by the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project aimed at boosting connectivity between the two neighbors, has been pragmatic and fruitful, Sun said. The CPEC, also an important part of the China-proposed “One Belt and One Road” initiative, has set up the strategic framework for the pragmatic cooperation between the two countries.
The Chinese ambassador said the CPEC will not only benefit the Pakistani people but also contribute to development and prosperity of the whole region as all the projects have been pressed forward smoothly.
Both sides will explore and deepen cooperation in the fields of governance, people-to-people exchanges and better coordination in combating terrorism, cooperation in defense and international and regional affairs, so as to safeguard the common interests of the two countries, he said.
This year is designated as the China-Pakistan Year of Friendly Exchange. China is willing to work together with Pakistan to inherit and promote the traditional friendship forged in the past decades to build the China-Pak destiny, the ambassador added.