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China and Pakistan Hope for Deepening of Ties in 2021

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File photo of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and China Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Courtesy PID

In telephone call, foreign ministers of neighboring nations exchange views on COVID-19, bilateral relations and regional and international issues of concern

The foreign ministers of China and Pakistan on Thursday agreed to maintain strategic communication and consultation at all levels to promote peace and stability both regionally and elsewhere, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

In a telephone call that lasted an hour, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi reaffirmed the “depth and breadth” of their two nations’ “all weather strategic cooperative partnership.” According to the Foreign Office, the two officials exchanged views on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral relations, and regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Wang expressed the hope that 2021 would witness further deepening of ties between Pakistan and China. Qureshi, meanwhile, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the ‘One-China’ policy, and expressed Islamabad’s support on issues such as Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and the South China Sea. “The foreign minister underscored that the deep-rooted relationship between China and Pakistan was aimed at promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region,” read the Foreign Office statement.

It said that Qureshi had stressed that both China and Pakistan were working to contain the spread of COVID-19, adding that various mechanisms had been established to control the pandemic, resume economic growth, and restore regional supply chains. The foreign minister also praised Beijing for its progress in developing COVID-19 vaccines, saying Phase III clinical trials of the CanSino Biologics vaccine in Pakistan were progressing well. He noted that the government had approved the Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use in Pakistan and hoped it would be available shortly. “Foreign Minister Wang Yi assured [Qureshi] that China would work to provide over one million doses of the vaccine to Pakistan for emergency use,” read the statement.

During their conversation, Qureshi and Wang also discussed India’s aggressive posture in the region, noting that such irresponsible policies were imperiling regional peace and stability. Pakistan’s foreign minister emphasized that both their countries must continue to closely coordinate efforts to advance the shared objectives of peace, stability and economic development in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Qureshi also underscored that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a transformational project, and combined with the overall Belt and Road Initiative, would become a hub of trade and economic activity, sustainable development and greater people-to-people exchanges. “He underlined that Pakistan and China were taking relevant measures for timely completion of CPEC projects,” read the statement, adding he underscored that the 10th JCC meeting would play an instrumental role in this regard.

“Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed satisfaction over Pakistan and China’s cooperation on regional and international issues and reaffirmed the vitality of the time-tested All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership which remained unaffected by the vicissitudes of the regional and international developments and continued to move from strength to strength,” according to the Foreign Office.

Wang also invited Qureshi to visit Beijing for “maintaining momentum of high-level exchanges,” with the Foreign Office saying he had accepted the invitation.

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