In joint statement, Beijing and Islamabad pledge to work together to defeat COVID-19, ensure success of CPEC projects
The enduring China-Pakistan partnership is beneficial to international and regional peace and stability, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries following a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and China’s Wang Yi.
The statement, which followed the second round of the China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue in Hainan province, said the meeting had exchanged views on the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral relations, and international and regional issues of mutual interest. It said the two had “reached consensus to collectively take measures to safeguard their common interests and promote peace, prosperity, and development in the region.”
According to the statement, both sides reiterated their resolve to continue working together to prevent and control COVID-19, claiming they had “set an example for the international community to jointly fight the pandemic.” They vowed to continue this cooperation for the development of a coronavirus vaccine and pledged to oppose any attempts to “politicize the pandemic” while supporting the World Health Organization to play a leading role in public health governance.
“Both sides agreed on continuing their firm support on issues concerning each other’s core national interests,” read the statement, adding that the Chinese side had reiterated that “Pakistan and China are iron brothers and Pakistan remains China’s staunchest partner in the region.”
It said that Pakistan had reaffirmed its firm support to China on affairs concerning “China’s core interests and issues of major concern, such as those related to Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.”
Both sides also discussed projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), noting it had entered a new phase that would be essential to helping Pakistan overcome the economic impact of COVID-19. “The two sides will continue to firmly advance the construction of CPEC, ensure in-time completion of those projects under construction, focus on economic and social development, job creation and improvement of people’s livelihood, and further strengthen cooperation in Specialized Economic Zones, industrial relocation, science and technology, medical and health, human resources training, poverty alleviation, and agriculture etc., with the aim to continuously unleash the great potential of CPEC to make it a hub of regional connectivity,” it said, adding that the international community was welcome to join in the CPEC construction on the basis of consensus to achieve shared development.
“China firmly supports Pakistan in safeguarding its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, independently choosing a development path based on its national conditions, striving for a better external security environment and playing a more constructive role on international and regional affairs,” the statement added.
Both nations also expressed satisfaction over cooperation on regional and international issues at multilateral forums, such as the U.N., Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and ASEAN Regional Forum. They reiterated their commitment to the U.N. Charter and support for multilateralism, free trade and win-win cooperation, and opposition to unilateralism, protectionism, and coercive practices. They also underlined a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia, which was in common interest of all parties.
“The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues,” read the statement. “The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan, which is an objective fact, and that the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the U.N. Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements,” it said, adding China opposed any unilateral actions that complicated the situation.
On the Afghan peace process, both sides lauded ongoing efforts toward initiating Intra-Afghan talks. “They emphasized the importance of an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive negotiated agreement for future political settlement in Afghanistan,” read the statement, adding both had encouraged relevant parties in Afghanistan to “seize this historic opportunity and commence the Intra-Afghan Negotiations at the earliest” to produce durable peace and stability.
“China appreciated Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process and efforts for promoting peace and stability in region and beyond,” it said. “Both China and Pakistan reaffirmed the vitality of the time-tested and All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the two countries which remains unaffected by the vicissitudes of the regional and international developments and continues to move from strength to strength,” it added.