ISLAMABAD, May 24 : The time-tested friendship between ‘Iron Brothers’ China and Pakistan and best described by the visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang ‘precious than gold’ receives fresh vigour in the shape of renewed pledges through a number of agreements ranging from economic to space technology. The much expected visit by Premier Li ended on high note, opening vistas of broader cooperation especially to meet Pakistan’s much required energy needs. During his stay Premier Li held wide ranging talks with the civilian and military leadership over local, regional and international issues and vowed to extend every possible support in every sector.
Pakistan and China agreed to jointly work on an economic corridor for enhanced connectivity, aimed at benefiting their people and the region in general.
President Asif Ali Zardari described his talks with Premier Li as “excellent” and added “our discussions focused on economic corridor and improving connectivity between Pakistan and Western regions of China.”
President Asif Ali Zardari also conferred Pakistan’s highest civil award Nishan-e-Pakistan on Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for his outstanding contribution in strengthening Pakistan-China relations. President Asif Ali Zardari hosted a luncheon in the honour of the visiting Premier while Prime Minister Justice retied Mir Hazar Khan Khoso arranged a banquet.
The political leaders including PML-N chief Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI-F, ANP’s Haji Adeel and Shahi Syed, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed of AML, PPPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Ijaz ul Haq of PML (Zia), Senator Mushahidullah (PML-N), Senators Aitezaz Ahsan and Babar Awan (PPPP) and Hasil Bazenjo (senior vice president of National Party) had attended the events.
The Prime Minister during his banquet speech told the visiting friend “Indeed Pakistan takes great pride in its all-weather and time-tested friendship with China, a country which is deeply admired all across Pakistan’s people irrespective of personal or political inclinations.”
In his meeting with PML-N chief Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Premier Li assured him to extend every cooperation for trade generation through investment in Pakistan.
Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila and Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafiq Butt also exchanged views with Chinese premier on defence cooperation and other matters of mutual interest.
In his historic visit, the Chinese Prime Minister addressed Upper House of Pakistan Parliament and reiterated to solidify the warm ties by conveying the general feelings among the Chinese people, “If you love China, please also love Pakistan’.
Premier Li in his written statement to media has said that China took its trade imbalance with Pakistan seriously and was taking measures to address the issue as there was great potential to be tapped in their economic cooperation.
He said Pakistan’s export to China last year increased by nearly 50 percent.
China was Pakistan’s second largest trading partner and fourth largest export market. Steady progress had been made in their cooperation in energy, infrastructure, telecommunications and financial sectors.
The Chinese Premier termed the mutual political and economic relations like the two wheels of a bicycle, which were mutually reinforcing.
The trade between the two countries has for the first time risen over US 12 billion dollars.
Both countries inked several Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) that mainly included the long-term Economic Corridor plan, maritime cooperation and satellite navigation.
The visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang marked the signing of important documents aimed at long-term cooperation between the two countries in multiple areas.
A Joint Statement on deepening comprehensive strategic cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan said to cement the strategic partnership was the shared objective of both countries.
The two sides agreed to deepen comprehensive strategic cooperation in the following eight areas including political relations, economic cooperation and trade which stressed upon its expansion, implementation of the Additional Agreement to Extend the Five Year Development Programme on China- Pakistan Trade and Economic Cooperation and the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement, fast track work on the projects identified under the Five Year Development Program, press ahead with the second phase of negotiations of China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement, further liberalize trade, and advance economic integration etc.
The two sides agreed to jointly carry out economic and technical cooperation in agriculture, health, education and projects that benefit the people. They would hold the third meeting of the China – Pakistan Joint Energy Working Group at an early date to deepen cooperation in conventional energy, renewable energy and civil nuclear energy.
The two sides would make concerted efforts to continuously improve connectivity between China and Pakistan, accelerate work on the Attabad Lake blocking the Karakorum Highway (KKH), carry forward the project of the upgrading of the KKH and the national highway network post-flood rehabilitation project, and promote cooperation in building transport infrastructure.
The two sides agree to jointly develop the Long-Term Plan for China- Pakistan Economic Corridor on the basis of thorough study, so as to promote greater connectivity and further development of investment, trade and economic cooperation between China and Pakistan.
The two sides agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in the fields of maritime security, search and rescue and disaster relief at sea, maritime scientific research and environmental protection, and blue economy.
They also agree to jointly support the construction and development of the China -Pakistan Joint Maritime Research Center, tackle the growing non-traditional threats to maritime security, and effectively safeguard the security of international sea-lanes.
The two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Maritime Cooperation Between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Marine Science and Technology Between the State Oceanic Administration of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The two sides also welcomed the signing of the agreement for cooperation on BeiDou Satellite Navigation System in Pakistan, and will make continual progress in the remote-sensing satellite system project.
They would deepened exchanges between universities, think thanks, press media, and film and television industries, and push forward the establishment of cultural centers in each other’s countries.
The two sides believed that the exchanges and collaboration between the armed forces of China and Pakistan were an important pillar of their friendly relations. They highly commended the China- Pakistan Defence and Security Consultations Mechanism, and would maintain the momentum of high-level visits between the armed forces of the two countries, deepen cooperation in counter-terrorism personnel training, joint training, equipment and technology, and exchanges between military academics, and identify new areas for exchanges and cooperation.