Statement by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan
I am honored to welcome State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Mr. Wang Yi to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His visit is the first high-level contact from China after the formation of the new government. Mr. Wang Yi is an old friend of Pakistan who has always supported Pakistan. His contributions for promoting friendship between the two countries are commendable. We highly appreciate his visit to Pakistan.
During his visit, State Councilor Wang Yi has a full schedule of meetings with our leadership including the President, Prime Minister, Speaker National Assembly and Chief of Army Staff.
Friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy. There is political, institutional and popular support for Pakistan-China friendship in both countries. We have the unique honor of being China’s “iron brother” and we reciprocate the noble sentiment expressed by President Xi Jinping. Pakistan is eager and willing to collaborate with China on CPEC, which is the fastest evolving project of the Belt and Road Initiative, todate. CPEC is the proof of how seamless and sustainable the Belt and Road Initiative can become, with active engagement of all stakeholders and both public and private sector involvement.
The New Government has been formed after the general elections. We are grateful for the congratulatory messages by the Chinese leadership as well as the congratulatory phone call by Premier Li Keqiang to Prime Minister Imran Khan. We also appreciate the message of support by Premier Li to the new Government. We will continue to further strengthen the strategic partnership between Pakistan and China.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi has also extended an invitation to Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit China in November this year for an official bilateral visit. He will also participate in the International Import Expo in Shanghai as a Chinese guest. We have extended invitations to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to visit Pakistan.
During our meeting today, we held in-depth discussions on many important and pressing issues. We agreed to further strengthening the bilateral ties and to maintain close communication on regional and global issues. China is Pakistan’s “all-weather” friend and Pakistan can always rely on China’s support at various international fora.
We have made substantive progress on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). I reassured the Foreign Minister that CPEC is of immense strategic and national importance for Pakistan. We are highly grateful for the personal attention Chinese leadership has accorded to the implementation of CPEC. CPEC will remain a priority for the Government. We will ensure that ongoing projects are implemented at the earliest and at the same time, we will explore new avenues of cooperation under CPEC.
I have discussed with the State Councilor the priorities of our Government including poverty alleviation, socio-economic development, job creation and rooting out corruption, which will be incorporated in our future joint endeavors and industrial development.
Pakistan has made huge strides in combating terrorism and obliteration of terrorist activities from its soil. We strongly condemn all terrorist activities whether perpetrated by individuals, groups or states. Our efforts in this regard have always been supported by China.
The State Councilor highlighted Pakistan’s immense contributions in combating terrorism and emphasized that China fully supports our efforts in this regard. He acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and urged the international community to appreciate Pakistan’s role in countering terrorism which is a global problem.
We agreed to work towards enhancing trade cooperation. We also agreed that Pakistan and China will continue to support each other at multilateral fora. We congratulate China for its successful Chairmanship of SCO in which it had our full support. I express the hope that China will continue to support in multilateral forums.
I now invite State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Mr. Wang Yi for his remarks.
Statement by the Foreign Minister of China
My friends from the press, it is my pleasure to visit Pakistan, shortly after the formation of the new government. On behalf of the Government of China, I also want to congratulate Pakistan on the recently held elections. China respects the independent choice made by the Pakistani people. We believe that under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan the new Pakistani government will lead Pakistani people with one heart and one mind to overcome difficulties towards achieving the mission of “New Pakistan”. Pakistan as good neighbor, good friend and a good partner. China and Pakistan are all weather strategic and cooperative partners. This relationship is based on mutual understanding, mutual support and mutual trust, forged over the years. It rises above the political parties and the change in the governments. It is unshakable. I am coming to Pakistan to make full contacts with the new government and to promote the bilateral cooperation. We will ensure that it may be a good beginning for the bilateral relationship between the two countries. We applaud the efforts of the new government of Pakistan for underscoring its commitment towards China-Pakistan relationship, the cornerstone of its foreign policy. I want you to note that China will continue to put Pakistan at a priority place in Chinese foreign policy and neighborhood diplomacy. I had fruitful discussion with Foreign Minister Mr. Qureshi. I agree with his comments in our meeting today. I will summarize our discussion today into ten points.
First, China welcome Prime Minister Imran Khan to China on an official visit to attend China International Import expo. We are also ready to invite the Prime Minister for the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held next year.
Second, we have agreed to realize the development of CEPEC. The two sides will see that the complete project will run efficiently and reach completion. In addition, in line with Pakistan’s development priorities and its people’s needs, the two sides will also talk about the future prospects of the Corridor and the direction of cooperation. The two sides will make particular efforts to strengthen cooperation on industrial capacity and livelihood progress. We want its influence to be felt in less developed areas in western Pakistan.
Third, we have agreed to strive for increasing two-way trade. China will encourage the imports from Pakistan and will send trade commission teams to Pakistan. We will also broaden market access for Pakistan’s competitive agriculture products. The two sides will work to complete negotiations on FTA by the end of this year, to further enhance trade liberalization between the two countries.
And fourthly, we have agreed to engage actively in industrial capacity cooperation. China will support Pakistan in developing the local manufacturing sector to enhance the capacity of industrial development, increase job creation and to be integrated into international industrial chain at a faster pace.
Fifthly, we have agreed to have development-oriented cooperation. Chinese assistance will be further directed towards agriculture, sanitation, household, safe drinking water and other livelihood areas, so as to bring tangible benefits to Pakistani people.
Six, we will deepen defence and security cooperation. The two sides will enhance interaction between the militaries and security institutions. We will work together to resolutely combat ETIM terrorist forces. China will continue to support Pakistan in its efforts to fight terrorism and to achieve its national development priorities.
Seventh, our two sides have agreed to increase sharing of information on good governance. China is ready to host seminars on poverty reduction, combating corruption and economic development for Pakistan. China is also ready to organize demonstration projects to reduce poverty in Pakistan.
Eight, we have to agreed to expand people to people exchanges and enhanced cooperation between the armed forces of both the countries and to strengthen cooperation in education. China will take further measures on visa liberalization for Pakistani citizens.
Ninth, we have agreed to strengthen cooperation in international and regional affairs. The two sides will work together as far as Afghan reconciliation process is concerned. The two sides will work together to oppose protectionism, unilateralism, cold war mentality and power politics. Our two sides will build a new type of international relations and a community with shared futures.
Tenth, the two sides have agreed to take Pakistan China strategic partnership to new heights, build upon past achievements and future prospects. This way we will make our contribution towards building a community with shared futures.
Question: You had a very detailed meeting today. What was the agenda of the meeting and what important issues were discussed? (Amjad Ali – PTV).
Answer (Pakistan FM): I had the honor and privilege to meet my good friend State Councilor Wang Yi and his delegation today. We had a very fruitful meeting. Pakistan and China are bilateral strategic cooperative partners. It is time tested relationship which has set a novel precedence for good interstate relations. We had a very comprehensive agenda including bilateral, regional and international issues. We reviewed the whole gamut of our bilateral relations. We were very satisfied to note that we enjoy unanimity of views on most if issues. Pakistan and China have robust defence relations which form the backbone of our bilateral relations. We also discussed our economic and trade relations including CPEC. CPEC is an important project and it will remain a priority project for our government. We were happy to note that our Government’s agenda of socio-economic reforms resonates with the agenda of President Xi Jinping and Chinese leadership’s reform process. We agreed to enhance our cooperation in social sector especially in health and education, poverty alleviation, agriculture and anti-corruption.
We also reviewed all important regional and international issues of mutual concern. We are thankful to Chinese leadership for their continued support and recognition of Pakistan’s efforts in war against terrorism.
Both countries have always enjoyed a very close cooperation and we reaffirmed our resolve to further strengthen this relationship.
Question: There is a view about CPEC that says the building of this corridor which focuses on infrastructure development has increased the debt burden on Pakistan and is a major reason for Pakistan’s debt crisis and financial problems. What is China’s response to that? (Zhang Tingfeng – Phoenix TV)
Answer (Chinese State Councilor): The China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a major economic cooperation project between the two countries. China is a country, that values and cherishes its friendship with Pakistan. When China was in difficulty Pakistan extended its support to it. Today, China wants to reciprocate in the shape of extending support for socio-economic development. In this context, I would like to share with you some figures under the CPEC framework. There are now 22 cooperation projects, 9 of which have been completed, while 13 are under construction. It is a total investment of US$ 19 billion and it has boosted Pakistan’s economic growth by 1 to 2 percent, creating 17 thousand job opportunities. These are real and tangible outcomes. I also want to stress that the CPEC is not for a particular region or a group; its is meant for Pakistan. It is designed to deliver benefits to all Pakistani people. Many of the early harvest projects of the Corridor are energy and infrastructure development projects. These have met the urgent needs of Pakistan. They also represent natural stage for any country’s industrialization, because in the absence of electricity there is no logistical basis to support development of the manufacturing industry and these projects are meant to unlock the development in different areas of Pakistan and have also laid an important foundation for the development of the Corridor. As far as the future of CPEC is concerned, the first thing we addressed was that we respect the wishes of the Pakistan sides. Our two sides have agreed that the CPEC cooperation will gradually shift to industrial cooperation, to help Pakistani local manufacturing industry. This will result in job creation and trade expansion. We will pay greater attention to improve the livelihood of Pakistan people and hence more people will benefit from CPEC. I would like to say that over the years the IMF and the IFIs have provided support to Pakistan. To our knowledge, 47% of the current debt comes from the international financial institutions. When it comes to 22 CPEC projects, 18 of them are financed by direct Chinese investment/assistance; only 4 have received concessional loans. Therefore, to me, shortly CPEC has nothing to do with the debt burden of Pakistan, rather when these projects get completed they will have huge economic benefits. Besides, they will result in considerable returns for Pakistan. We also said that some people are talking about the conspiracy of CPEC. This actually is false. These projects are based on scientific studies and have passed through all the procedures. As the CPEC projects further proceed, we might consider bringing in third parties, because this will not only bring benefit to Pakistani people, but will also foster regional connectivity. Perhaps, Pakistan is facing some difficulties, but those difficulties are temporary. Pakistan is an important emerging economy of the world. It has a vast market, with a lot potential. China is confident and will remain confident in the future of Pakistan. We believe that with the new Prime Minister’s reform program and the support of the international community, Pakistan will realize sound and sustainable economic development.
Question: Mr. Foreign Minister you said there was also a discussion on trade and economic issues in the talks. What was the focus in economic and trade relations? (Liu Chang – China Radio International)
Answer (Pakistan FM): Economic relations are very important component of our bilateral relations. There is a wide range of economic activities like China’s investment in Pakistan, CPEC and a very sizeable bilateral trade. Our bilateral trade has increased over the last 10 years or so. The trade deficit for Pakistan has also increased.
We discussed that efforts should be made to enhance our bilateral trade and special focus will be given to increase Pakistan’s exports to China. The 2nd phase of FTA is under process and both sides will accommodate each others’ concerns. Pakistan will actively participate in China International Import Expo in Shanghai, so that Pakistani companies can get more excess to Chinese markets.
We also discussed to have more purchase missions from China to Pakistan. Most importantly we will strengthen our industrial cooperation. Efforts will be made to start the Special Economic Zones under CPEC at the earliest, so that Pakistan’s export capacity can be enhanced. It will also help in more employment in Pakistan.
Question: Mr. State Councilor, you are here in Pakistan just days after Secretary Pompeo’s visit. The frequency of these visits tells much about the importance that major countries attach to Pakistan. What is your take on the role of Pakistan in this region? (Hamza – APP)
Answer (Chinese State Councilor): Well, Pakistan is an important developing country. It is a country with particular influence in the Islamic world and international and regional affairs. At the same time, Pakistan is also participating in international fight against terrorism. Overs the years, Pakistan has made unlimited efforts to fight against terrorism. Pakistan’s sacrifices deserve full recognition by the international community. Pakistan is also a strong force behind regional stability and development. Pakistan has been actively participating in resolving regional hot-spot issues, regional connectivity and economic cooperation. Pakistan has played a positive role in regional cooperation framework like ASEAN, SAARC and SCO etc. China welcomes all countries in engaging in communication and cooperation with Pakistan. China also supports the United States in developing mutually beneficial relationship with Pakistan on the basis of mutual respect. We believe that China and the US along-with international community should support the new Pakistan government. We shall support Pakistan in its fights against terrorism, socio-economic development and in developing relations with the neighboring countries.