PM Imran Khan holds talks with Chinese PM, Uzbek president


PID
PID

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday held wide-ranging talks with Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, in Beijing.

He was accompanied by the foreign minister, minister for Finance, minister for Planning, Reform and Special Initiatives’, minister for Information & Broadcasting besides senior officials.

The two leaders agreed to work closely on further deepening bilateral economic engagement and reaffirmed their commitment to further advance the multifaceted strategic cooperative ties and building the Pakistan-China Community of Shared Future in the new era.

The interaction between the two leaders was marked by traditional sentiments of warmth, deep mutual trust and understanding. During the meeting, they reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral ties, including discussions on the bilateral economic and trade relations, onward march of CPEC and important issues of regional and global concern.

The two sides reaffirmed the centrality of the Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership and reiterated support on each other’s issues of core interest.

Congratulating Premier Li for organising Beijing Winter Olympics, Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted that strategic ties between Pakistan and China serving the fundamental interests of the two countries and a factor of peace and stability in the region. He added that successful celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations held last year injected a new impetus to bilateral friendship.

The prime minister thanked the Chinese government for support and assistance to Pakistan in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and timely supply of vaccines.

The prime minister appreciated the transformational impact of CPEC on Pakistan’s infrastructure, energy, socio-economic development and improvement in livelihoods of the people. He underlined that Pakistan is committed to high quality development of CPEC through its mutually reinforcing industrial, trade, health, digital and green corridors.

The prime minister shared with Premier Li the measures taken by the government to provide policy guidance and support for enhanced Chinese investments in the CPEC SEZs and Special Technology Zones, and for safety and security of Chinese nationals, projects and institutions in Pakistan.

Exchanging views on the regional security situation, the prime minister highlighted the serious situation in IIOJK as well as the importance of urgent action by the international community to alleviate sufferings of the Kashmiri people.

He also underscored the importance of Pakistan and China working together to promote shared objectives of peace, stability and development in Afghanistan and regional connectivity.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan met with President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Beijing. The two leaders exchanged views in detail on the entire gamut of bilateral relations based on shared bonds of faith, history and culture and marked by cordiality and close cooperation.

The two leaders reaffirmed their resolve to comprehensively upgrade Pakistan-Uzbekistan partnership across the broad spectrum and continue taking practical steps for implementation of the key projects.

Prime Minister Imran Khan underscored the importance of enhanced trade and economic cooperation, particularly through operationalising the landmark bilateral Transit Trade Agreement (UPTTA) and finalising the Preferential Trade Agreement. He also reiterated Pakistan’s full support to the Trans-Afghan railway project and exchanged views on next steps in taking it forward over the coming months. To further improve connectivity and people-to-people contacts, the prime minister underlined the need to enhance tourism, take steps for resuming direct flights, strengthen banking links, and facilitate visas procedures.

The two leaders also discussed cooperation in education and culture and recognised progress on joint research and media ventures, including joint film on Baburi heritage and dubbing of Pakistani dramas in Uzbek language. They also exchanged views on issues of regional peace and stability.

The two sides stressed the need for continuing economic and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan by the international community to avoid any further deterioration of the situation. Stressing the need for practical engagement, the two leaders agreed that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is vital for regional stability as well as for the realisation of infrastructure and connectivity projects.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the people of Pakistan were looking forward to welcoming President Mirziyoyev on his visit to Pakistan. The two sides agreed to work closely to ensure concrete outcome of the visit.

In a related development, Prime Minister Imran Khan concluded his second day of meetings with business leaders of mega China’s top state-owned and private enterprises in Beijing. The executives who met the prime minister included Chairmen of China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC), China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), Power China, East Sea Group, China Railway Group Limited (CREC), China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC), Beijing Century Industrial Development Co Ltd (CENTINCO) and the CHINAMEX Group.

During the meetings, the Chinese businesspersons briefed the prime minister on the progress of their ongoing projects in Pakistan and future investment plans worth billions of US dollars in the fields of energy, refining, petrochemical, infrastructure development, water management, information and communication technology (ICT), and housing.

China Energy is a Fortune 500 conglomerate operating in the fields of energy, water management, transportation and construction; CSCEC’s major areas of focus are communications and engineering; Power China provides services in the energy & water sectors; East Sea Group is an international energy and chemical trading company; CREC focuses on engineering, real estate development, railways and mining sectors; MCC is the world’s largest metallurgical construction contractor; CENTINCO specialises in industrial, infrastructure refining & petrochemical projects; and CHINAMEX Group has carried out urban development projects in several countries.

Appreciating the interests of Chinese companies for enhancing business ties with Pakistan, the prime minister highlighted that the government of Pakistan had offered many incentives to foreign enterprises, especially from China, for investment in Pakistan’s Special Economic Zones.

He assured that Pakistan would continue to support and facilitate the Chinese companies for their expanded footprints in Pakistan. The prime minister was accompanied in the meetings by the members of cabinet and senior officials.

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