ISLAMABAD: China on Monday outlined its ‘road map’ for cooperation with Pakistan in 2014, declaring the outgoing year ‘a year of development, a year of achievements and a year of harvest’.
“Firstly, we should deepen the strategic relations. China would like to work with Pakistan to keep the tradition of high-level exchanges, and enhance mutual support on issues involving the major interests of the two countries,” Ambassador Sun Weidong told a select group of journalists here at the Chinese Embassy.
“We should share experiences in governing a state. We should further strengthen China-Pakistan friendship by promoting exchanges of political parties, parliamentarians, local governments, think tanks, youth and media,” the ambassador said. The envoy termed Sino-Pak cooperation in energy and development sectors as top priority and hoped that exchange of experiences could open new avenues for economic and social construction of both countries.
“Secondly, we should strengthen cooperation in all fields. We will take energy and infrastructure cooperation as a top priority, push forward construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), so as to promote economic development of Pakistan and improving livelihood of Pakistani people,” he said, and pointed out that bypass project of Attabad Lake of Karakorum Highway, the Gwadar Port East Bay Motorway, the Reconstruction Project of Flood-Damaged Highway and China-Pakistan Cross-Border Cable Project could be the ‘Early Harvest Projects’.
The ambassador said Chinese companies wanted to invest in the energy sector and were willing to participate in water, thermal, solar, wind and civil nuclear power generation projects. “We should make full use of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and hold the second round of tax reduction negotiations on the second phase of the FTA. We should deepen cooperation in the fields of defence, maritime, agriculture, and law enforcement.” The ambassador said Pakistan and China need to promote people-to-people exchanges. He announced that China will send one thousand Chinese teachers to Pakistan in the next five years.
“We will continue to encourage youth delegations to exchange visits, invite more Chinese cultural troupes to Pakistan. We are also planning to build up a cultural centre in Pakistan,” the ambassador said. On regional and international affairs, the ambassador said the two countries should push forward Afghanistan peace process, support the SAARC cooperation process, maintain regional peace and promote common development. The ambassador appreciated the Pakistani government for its efforts to bring economic development and social stability.
“We are delighted to see reported 5% GDP growth rate in the first quarter of the 2013-2014 fiscal year and FDI rising to $340 million.” The ambassador hailed Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and urged the international community to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and provide it support on an ‘equal footing’. “China supports Pakistan in formulating and implementing counter-terrorism strategies according to its own requirements. We appreciate that measures have been taken by the Pakistani side to ensure the safety of Chinese citizen and institutions.”
The ambassador said his government gives priority to the China-Pakistan relations, while relations with China remain cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. “It is because the two peoples have nationwide consensus on being friendly to each other,” he said.
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