Pakistan, China agree to expand CPEC in line with PM’s vision


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Monday agreed to expand the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to new areas of cooperation in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

This was decided at the first round of political consultations between Pakistan and China held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua led the Pakistani delegation while the Chinese side was led by Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou. The two sides also resolved to work together towards completion of the ongoing CPEC projects. Both sides held comprehensive discussions on the entire gamut of bilateral relations.

The meeting reaffirmed the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries. The delegates also expressed their satisfaction at the strong bilateral ties in political, economic, security, cultural and other spheres. The two sides also agreed to build upon the consensus reached between the leadership of two countries during prime minister’s visit to China. Pakistan conveyed to China that CPEC is government’s top priority and its successful implementation will be ensured.

Both sides exchanged views on international political situation with a particular focus on Afghanistan and South Asia. They also expressed satisfaction at their robust cooperation in multilateral fora and reiterated their resolve to further augment it in the future.

Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign Minister congratulated Vice Minister Kong on the successful conclusion of Pakistan-China bilateral political consultations. He said that Pakistan-China friendship has deep cultural, historical and institutional linkages and has become an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.

Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s stance that friendship of both countries “remain the cornerstone” of its foreign policy.

Recalling prime minister’s successful visit to China in November, the foreign minister said that it marks a milestone in the history of bilateral relations and has deepened the bond of trust and friendship between two nations.

He highlighted that CPEC has added yet another dimension to bilateral ties and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to complete this project as envisaged by the leadership of both countries. He said that he is looking forward to participate in the second meeting of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Trilateral Mechanism to be held in Kabul on December 15.

While reciprocating the sentiments of Foreign Minister Qureshi, Vice Foreign Minister Kong said that China attaches paramount importance to its relations with Pakistan. He expressed satisfaction at the momentum of bilateral relations and underscored the need to further enhance ties in political, economic, defense and cultural spheres. He appreciated Pakistan for its efforts to achieve goals of national development and extended China’s utmost support in this regard.

Both leaders also exchanged views on regional situation and multilateral issues of mutual concern and agreed to deepen strategic coordination and communication at all levels.

On Sunday, the foreign minister, while in a conversation with journalists in the federal capital, hoped that ties between Pakistan and the United States will soon be normalised and added that US President Donald Trump also hailed the role of Islamabad in the Afghan peace process and sought its support to bring back peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Qureshi had also said that the US had endorsed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s stance that “there could not be a military solution to Afghanistan issue”.

“All the stakeholders will have to come on board to achieve durable stability in Afghanistan,” he said while adding that “the world should treat Taliban as Afghan citizens”.

The seasoned minister maintained that his country will continue playing a positive role in bringing back political stability in its neighbouring country.