China and Pak­istan New Di­rec­tions

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China and Pak­istan have launched a plan for en­ergy and in­fra­struc­ture projects in Pak­istan worth $46 bil­lion, link­ing their economies and un­der­scor­ing China’s eco­nomic am­bi­tions in Asia and be­yond.

China’s Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping ar­rived in Islamabad on Mon­day to over­see the sign­ing of agree­ments aimed at es­tab­lish­ing a China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor be­tween Gwadar port on the Ara­bian Sea and China’s west­ern Xin­jiang re­gion.

The plan, which would eclipse US spend­ing in Pak­istan over the last decade or so, is part of China’s aim to forge ‘Silk Road’ land and sea ties to mar­kets in the Mid­dle East and Europe.

Pres­i­dent Xi said it ce­mented an ‘all-weather strate­gic co­op­er­a­tive part­ner­ship’ be­tween the neigh­bours.

Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif said the cor­ri­dor would trans­form Pak­istan into a re­gional hub and give China a shorter and cheaper route for trade with much of Asia, the Mid­dle East and Africa.

“Friend­ship with China is the cor­ner­stone of Pak­istan’s for­eign pol­icy,” Nawaz said in a speech.

Xi linked the eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion with se­cu­rity. “Our co­op­er­a­tion in the se­cu­rity and eco­nomic fields re­in­force each other, and they must be ad­vanced si­mul­ta­ne­ously,” he said.

Nawaz added, “I as­sured Pres­i­dent Xi that Pak­istan con­sid­ers China’s se­cu­rity as im­por­tant as its own se­cu­rity.”

Xi called for greater ef­forts to bring peace to Afghanistan, where Pak­istan is keen to re­strict the in­flu­ence of its ri­val In­dia.

The two sides also agreed to strengthen co­op­er­a­tion in civil nu­clear en­ergy, space and mar­itime tech­nol­ogy, counter-ter­ror­ism and de­fence.

The two coun­tries agreed to el­e­vate their re­la­tion to ‘all-weather strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion part­ner­ship’, en­rich­ing the Pak­istan-China com­mu­nity of shared des­tiny and en­sur­ing the per­pet­ual con­ti­nu­ity in friend­ship from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion.

A joint state­ment is­sued af­ter the for­mal talks held be­tween del­e­ga­tions of two coun­tries lead by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif re­spec­tively said that the two coun­tries re­viewed with sat­is­fac­tion the his­tor­i­cal devel­op­ment of Pak­istan-China re­la­tions and the progress made in re­cent years.

They agreed that the Pak­istan-China re­la­tion­ship had ac­quired greater strate­gic sig­nif­i­cance against the back­drop of com­plex and chang­ing in­ter­na­tional and re­gional sit­u­a­tions.

China ap­pre­ci­ated Pak­istan’s con­sis­tent and staunch sup­port on is­sues con­cern­ing China’s core in­ter­ests. China reaf­firmed its sup­port and sol­i­dar­ity for the sovereignty, in­de­pen­dence and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of Pak­istan. It ap­pre­ci­ated Pak­istan’s ef­forts for the peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of all out­stand­ing is­sues with its neigh­bours. In fact, friend­ship and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Pak­istan and China served the fun­da­men­tal in­ter­ests of the two coun­tries and peo­ples, and con­trib­ute to peace, sta­bil­ity and devel­op­ment in the re­gion and be­yond.

The Pak­istani side de­scribed friend­ship with China as the cor­ner­stone of its for­eign pol­icy.

Pak­istan is com­mit­ted to one-China pol­icy and fully sup­ported China in safe­guard­ing its sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity.

The two sides agreed to main­tain close high-level ex­changes, which would pro­vide guid­ance for the healthy and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship.

The two sides will fur­ther en­hance strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tion and co­or­di­na­tion to safe­guard their com­mon in­ter­ests.

“Chi­nese Pres­i­dents’ vis­its to Pak­istan have al­ways been his­toric. This visit too is his­toric. It is a wa­ter­shed in the his­tory of our re­la­tions,” Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz said. “I in­formed the pres­i­dent that Pak­istan de­sires a peace­ful neigh­bour­hood to fo­cus on pur­su­ing growth and de­liv­er­ing pros­per­ity to the peo­ple. To this end, we want peace­ful re­la­tions with all our neigh­bours.”

Nawaz said he along with Pres­i­dent Xi have taken ‘mo­men­tous de­ci­sions’ that would raise Pak­istan-China re­la­tions to new heights and “have deep and far reach­ing im­pact for our com­mon eco­nomic fu­ture and peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion.” He said both the lead­ers dis­cussed the full spec­trum of their bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and de­cided to strengthen them fur­ther in the

strate­gic, po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and cul­tural spheres.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said China was work­ing along with Pak­istan to help it achieve its eco­nomic devel­op­ment and men­tioned the so­lar power project in Cholis­tan to help with the liveli­hood pro­gram.

He ap­pre­ci­ated Pak­istan’s ef­forts for peace­ful co-ex­is­tence with its neigh­bour­ing coun­tries and ap­pre­ci­ated Pak­istan’s con­struc­tive role to help Afghanistan achieve peace and sta­bil­ity.

Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif said the visit al­lowed the two sides to co­or­di­nate po­si­tions on im­por­tant mul­ti­lat­eral is­sues, ahead of the 70th an­niver­sary of found­ing of the United Na­tions.

“Both coun­tries af­firmed their com­mon de­sire to work closely to se­cure our in­ter­ests in the UN re­form process,” he added.

He said Pak­istan wel­comed China’s pol­icy of in­creased en­gage­ment with its neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.

“We share Pres­i­dent Xi’s vi­sion for peace and pros­per­ity in the re­gion, which would be built on the dual prin­ci­ples of com­pre­hen­sive se­cu­rity and win-win co­op­er­a­tion.”

Nawaz said Pres­i­dent Xi wel­comed the ‘res­o­lute steps’ taken by Pak­istan to counter ter­ror­ism and ex­trem­ism, es­pe­cially since the launch of Op­er­a­tion Zarb-e-Azb against mil­i­tants and ter­ror­ists.

He said Pres­i­dent Xi also rec­og­nized the sac­ri­fices be­ing ren­dered by the armed forces and peo­ple of Pak­istan in their ef­fort to root out mil­i­tancy and ter­ror­ism.

Nawaz said the CPEC would spur growth of Pak­istan’s crit­i­cal sec­tors of in­fra­struc­ture, en­ergy and in­dus­try. “We are start­ing a fresh phase in our geo-eco­nomic part­ner­ship that would cre­ate new jobs, start busi­nesses, pro­mote ed­u­ca­tion and pro­fes­sional train­ing, and help erad­i­cate poverty.” “This Cor­ri­dor will be­come a sym­bol for peace and pros­per­ity,” he said.

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