Pakistan, China pledge to stand united at all costs
* Ink several agreements, MoUs on economic corridor plan, maritime
cooperation and satellite navigation as Chinese premier visits
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Wednesday agreed to jointly work on an economic corridor for enhanced connectivity, aimed at benefiting their people and the region in general.
Talks between the two close allies were held at the Presidency during the visit of Chinese Prime Minster Li Keqiang. The Chinese premier arrived in the country on a two-day visit on Wednesday. Premier Li who took over the charge of his office in March this year is on a four-nation visit. Addressing a joint press conference along with the Chinese leader, President Asif Ali Zardari said, “Our top priority is to further strengthen economic linkages.”
President Zardari described his talks with Premier Li as “excellent” and added that “our discussions focused on economic corridor and improving connectivity between Pakistan and western regions of China.” Premier Li Keqiang said both sides have decided on a long-term programme – a strategic idea for the peace and stability of the world. “We hope by pushing forward connectivity, economic corridor will become a reality for the benefit of the two people,” Li said.
President Zardari said both the countries were determined to achieve the bilateral trade target of $15 billion and have agreed to speed up work on the projects identified under the Five-Year Development Programme. The trade between the two countries has for the first time risen over $12 billion. President Zardari said, “We have also decided to press ahead with the second phase of negotiations on China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement and start work on the China-Pakistan Agriculture Demonstration Zone.”
He said the two countries discussed various connectivity proposals, including fibre optics, road and rail links and energy projects. “We also discussed long-term plans about Pakistan-China economic corridor,” he said and pointed that Pakistan greatly values its brotherly relations with China. President Zardari warmly welcomed Premier Li to Pakistan and recalled his meeting with him in August 2011. “We are delighted that Mr Li has chosen Pakistan among the first countries to visit after taking over as premier of the State Council,” President Zardari said.
He said friendship with China has always been the cornerstone of our foreign policy. “Our friendship with China is rooted in national consensus. This friendship is not only between the governments but also between the two peoples. It is also time tested,” the president said. President Zardari said Pakistan believes that China was an important factor of peace and stability in the region and added that China’s economic progress was an example for many countries. He said Pakistan greatly values China’s economic support and assistance. Zardari said Pakistan was willing to stand with China and work together for a peaceful, harmonious and prosperous world.
Meanwhile, Premier Li Keqiang recalled his visit to Pakistan 27 years back as part of the youth delegation and said his visit left deep impressions on him. He said the friendship between the two countries was time-tested and all weather. He said his visit after the general elections and before the formation of a new government showed that the Pakistan-China friendship was everlasting. He termed Pakistan-China friendship a valuable asset and said it was something not affected by change of a government and politics.
He said the purpose his visit to Pakistan was to cement friendship between the two countries that has been nurtured by successive leaders and the people of the two countries. Premier Li said regular meetings between the leaders would help deepen and further consolidate their ties. He, however, stressed that consolidating the strategic cooperation needs to be backed by concrete actions and mentioned the witnessing of agreements on economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries.
Pakistan and China inked several agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) that mainly included the long-term economic corridor plan, maritime cooperation and satellite navigation. President Zardari and Premier Li witnessed the signing ceremony as the representatives of the two countries inked the documents at a ceremony held at the Presidency. app