Islamabad, Beijing renew commitment on CPEC, economic cooperation

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday assured his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will remain the top priority of the new government in Islamabad.

After a detailed meeting, the Chinese foreign minister, who is currently in Pakistan on a three-day official visit, held a joint press conference with Qureshi to tell the media that the two sides have decided to initiate strategic dialogue and further enhance bilateral economic relations.

The visit came weeks after the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief took oath as the prime minister.
The visit of the Chinese FM also acquired special significance as it is taking place days after a similar visit by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Joseph Dunford, in which both Pakistan and the US had agreed to reset their ties and reached an understanding that the Trump administration and the new Pakistani government would try to deliver on each other’s expectations.

Qureshi, while addressing the presser, said that the two sides discussed various matters of mutual interest, including the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He said the two sides had discussed special economic zones along with the CPEC during their meeting today.

He said CPEC is ‘proof’ that the belt programme is a sustainable initiative. “The CPEC is proof of how seamless the belt and road initiative can become with the help of all stakeholders,” he said.

The minister added that the Chinese foreign minister had extended an invitation to Imran to visit an expo in China in November as a guest of honour. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang were also invited to visit Pakistan.

During the meeting, many pressing issues were discussed, he said, adding that the need for close communication on regional issues was also highlighted during the meeting.

“CPEC will remain a priority for the government,” he said.

Qureshi said that during today’s meeting, he had shared the priorities of the new government in Islamabad with his Chinese counterpart. The security of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan was also discussed, he added.

Qureshi said that he had extended assurances that the country will ensure the security of Chinese officials working in Pakistan.

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