SANYA: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Li Yanming, Vice President of PowerChina Limited, on Monday witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Inter-State Gas Systems (ISGS) of Pakistan and Power China for laying of North-South Gas Pipeline.
The pipeline would serve as a secure and continuous supply of affordable gas in areas currently showing increased demand for power generation and industrial use.
The prime minister also witnessed the signing of another MoU between Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Power China for construction of up-country deep conversion oil refinery and laying of a crude oil pipeline. This project will help in reducing costs of petroleum products currently being transported via road from refineries in southern parts and also ensure uninterrupted supply.
Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khalid, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing and senior officials were also present on the occasion.
Earlier on Sunday, the PM stressed the urgent need for global openness as he expressed solidarity with China’s vision of “building a community of shared future for mankind.”
The prime minister said that he will lead a delegation comprising cabinet ministers and senior level officials, which underscores the importance Pakistan attaches to the forum.
The forum, scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, a town in the southern island province of Hainan, will have the theme “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity,” which Abbasi praised as “not only pertinent but also timely.”
With Asia becoming more integrated and countries in the region forging partnerships in diverse fields including economy, trade, technology, energy, ecology and social sectors, “Openness and inclusivity are indeed the need of the hour,” he stressed.
He spoke highly of the Belt and Road initiative (BRI) as well as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), calling it “a transformative project representing economic cooperation between Pakistan and China.”
He said the BRI is “a truly global public good” as it is designed to impact positively a vast number of people living in geographically distinct areas but bound together by the dream of improved lives, and better access to roads, infrastructure, sustainable energy and better resources.
As the flagship project of the BRI, CPEC epitomises the vision of the two countries for comprehensive and broad-based economic cooperation, said Abbasi.
“The energy projects conceived under CPEC have alleviated the energy crisis in Pakistan and we have been successful in adding thousands of megawatts of electricity to the national grid,” he said.
CPEC energy projects have diversified Pakistan’s energy mix with investments in the country’s hydro, wind, solar and hydrocarbon energy sectors, which is also “a matter of satisfaction” for the prime minister.
The initial phase of the CPEC has done extremely well. A network of roads is under construction, and Gwadar port infrastructure is being developed, he noted.
PM Abbasi said that Pakistan is now looking forward to the next stage of CPEC development — setting up Special Economic Zones, which he believes will not only strengthen the economic and industrial base of the country but also generate thousands of jobs.
Early completion of the road and rail network and modernization and development of Gwadar Port are also expected to “transform Pakistan from an agrarian economy to a logistics’ hub transporting goods from China to the region and the world.”
CPEC will enhance Pakistan’s connectivity not only with China but with Central and South Asia and beyond, said Abbasi, noting that it will expand bilateral and regional trade, promote economic integration, and foster economic development.
The prime minister also said that President Xi’s concept of “Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind” is “not only revolutionary but also ties in beautifully with CPEC.”
“Together with China, we look forward to making Pakistan a major contributor to ‘building a community of shared future for mankind’ through CPEC,” he said.
PM ARRIVES IN CHINA:
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi arrived in Beijing to attend the three-day Boao Forum for Asia annual conference.
CPPCC Member of Standing Committee of Sanya Yan Zhaojun received the prime minister, who was accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Muhammad Asif, said a statement issued by PM office.
Boao Forum is a non-governmental and non-profit international organisation which was formally inaugurated in 2001. It aims at promoting and deepening economic exchanges, coordination, cooperation within Asia, and between Asia and other parts of the world.
It offers high-end dialogue forum for government leaders, enterprises, experts and scholars to discuss the economy, investment, technology, and energy-related sectors in a collaborative manner. Pakistan is one of the 26 “Initial Countries” of this Forum.
Other attendees include Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.