Joint Statement: Pakistan highest foreign policy priority, says China

China, Pakistan agree to expand ties in a wide range of areas

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Ikram Bukhari

Islamabad

A joint statement issued by Pakistan and China on Sunday states that the two countries will significantly strengthen bilateral ties in a wide range of areas.

The statement issued by the two countries said that the two sides agreed to further strengthen the China-Pakistan All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership, and build closer China-Pakistan Community of Shared Future in the new era in line with the principles set forth by the treaty of friendship signed in 2005.

Political relations

According to the joint statement, both sides stressed that China and Pakistan are iron brothers. The cooperation between China and Pakistan serve the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, and contribute to peace, stability and development in the region and beyond.

Both sides will continue to view relations from a strategic and long-term perspective.

The Chinese side reiterated that China’s relationship with Pakistan is always a matter of highest priority in its foreign policy.

Chinaappreciated Pakistan’s important role in promoting regional peace, stability and security and efforts for the peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues with its neighbors.

The Pakistani side stressed that Pakistan-China relationship is the cornerstone of its foreign policy.

It unequivocally upholds the one-China policy.

China welcomed the establishment of China-Pakistan Friendship Groups in Pakistani Parliament.

Both sides agreed to establish the mechanism of China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue and rename the former Strategic Dialogue at Vice Foreign Minister-level to PoliticalConsultations.

CPEC

Prime Minister Imran Khan commended President Xi Jinping’s visionary Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that aims at enhancing regional and international connectivity. The two sides reiterated that BRI represents a win-win model of international cooperation. As a signature project of BRI, the fast development of CPEC has played a significant role in the Belt and Road cooperation.

Both sides reviewed the early harvest phase of CPEC and expressed satisfaction that rapid progress has been made in all areas. The two sides reaffirmed their complete consensus on the future trajectory of the CPEC.

Both sides agreed to task the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) to explore new areas of cooperation. In this regard, it was decidedthat the eighth session of the JCC will be held in Beijing before the end of the year.

Both sides agreed to speed up progress on the Gwadar Port and its auxiliary projects.

Both sides dismissed the growing negative propaganda against CPEC and expressed determination to safeguard the CPEC projects from all threats.

The Chinese side expressed its appreciation for the measures taken for the security of Chinese personnel and projects in Pakistan.

Trade andinvestment

The two sides agreed to further consolidate and expand bilateral economic relations as a matter of high priority.

The two sides agreed to take concrete measures to address trade imbalance.

The two sides agreed to conclude the second phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement as early as possible, and continue discussions on the Pakistan-China Agreement on Trade in Services.

They expressed satisfaction at the operationalization of the currency-swap agreement.

Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation on tourism promotion.

Marine, science and technology

Both sides expressed satisfaction on the Pakistan-China Maritime Cooperation Dialogue.

Both sides agreed to further expand and deepen their collaboration including in the areas of new and emerging technologies.

The China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) and SUPARCO will sign a framework agreement on cooperation.

Both sides agreed to enhance their cooperation in the areas of climate change, desertification control, desalination, water management, afforestation and ecological restoration, wetland protection and restoration, wildlife protection, forestry industry development, disaster management and risk reduction, and other areas of mutual interest.

Social sector

Pakistan expressed a desire to learn from the Chinese poverty alleviation model, which has lifted over 700 million people out of poverty over the last 40 years.

China is willing to strengthen policy dialogue, experience sharing and capacity building in the field of poverty reduction with Pakistan, and support Pakistan to establish poverty alleviation demonstration projects.

The Pakistan side evinced interest in learning from the Chinese experience and accomplishments in the field of anti-corruption.

People-to-people ties

Both sides agreed to improve visa facilitation for mutual visits.

It was agreed to enhance exchanges and dialogue between leaders at provincial and local levels.

China will offer additional scholarships for Pakistani students.

The two sides also agreed to establish China-Pakistan Youth Communication Committee.

Security and counter-terrorism

Both sides agreed to further enhance defence cooperation.

Both sides agreed to further enhance cooperation against “Three Evils” of extremism, terrorism and separatism.

The Chinese side recognized Pakistan’s efforts in actively strengthening financial regulations to combat terrorism financing, and called on all relevant parties to view Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts in an objective and fair manner.

The Pakistani side reaffirmed its support to the Chinese side in safeguarding its sovereignty and security, and combating separatism, terrorism andextremism including East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

Int’l and regional Issues

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the UN-centric international system.

Pakistan supported active participation of China at the platform of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation on the Afghan issue and support the ‘Afghan-owned and Afghan-led’ peace and reconciliation process.

China supports Pakistan’s engagement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group and welcomes its adherence of NSG Guidelines.

Both sides underscored the need for all States to avoid politicization of the UN Sanctions regime and the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Both sides also reiterated the need to evolve the text of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism on the basis of consensus.

During the visit, the two sides also signed 15 agreements/MoUs on a range of bilateral issues.

Moreover, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his appreciation to the leadership and people of China for the warm hospitality accorded to him and his delegation and invited Chinese leaders to visit Pakistan at a mutually convenient time.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that uprooting corruption and bringing people out of poverty are the top priorities of his government.

PM Khan, while delivering a speech at the Central Party School in Beijing hailed the bilateral cooperation between the countries.

“Pakistan at one point was an example for the developing world. In the 1960s we had quality universities. We had the highest growth rate. Our first five-year plan was emulated by South Korea and Malaysia,” he said, adding that unfortunately the nation lost its way due to corruption of the ruling elite.

He said that countries were poor not because of a lack of resources but due to the corruption of the elite, because it destroyed state institutions.

PM came down hard on money laundering and termed it the worst kind of corruption.

“The stronger the state institutions, the lesser the corruption,” PM Khan said.

Talking about poverty alleviation, the prime minister said that a country cannot progress with glaring inequality in society.

“This is where we admire China so much. No country in human history, has ever taken 700 million people out of poverty in 30 years as China has done,” he said, adding that the steps taken to that [effect] is what his party and his government were interested in.

He hailed Chinese leadership and thanked the country for her cooperation with Pakistan on various occasions.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan reached Shanghai on Sunday.

He will address the China International Import Expo (CIIE) as the keynote speaker today (Monday).