China appreciates the prime minister’s remarks and hopes to extend regional reach of Belt and Road Initiative
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday reaffirmed his government’s highest priority toward expeditiously completing projects linked to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), noting it would provide tremendous opportunities for increased economic growth and development in the region and beyond.
Meeting China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong in Islamabad, Khan appreciated the Chinese leadership and conveyed his warm greetings for President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office. It said that the meeting focused on bilateral relations between Pakistan and China, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations, coronavirus vaccine cooperation, and high-level bilateral exchanges.
“Emphasizing the time-tested ‘All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership, the P.M. reaffirmed Pakistan’s deep commitment to further enhance and broaden bilateral ties,” read the statement. It said Khan had also recalled his earlier telephone call with the Chinese premier, and noted that it reflected the excellent cooperation between the two countries.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the Chinese ambassador had extended President Xi Jinping’s invitation to the prime minister to participate in the “CPC and World Political Parties Summit in July, which Khan had graciously accepted. He also reassured the prime minister that China would continue to support Pakistan in its fight against COVID-19 and accorded the highest priority to helping address Pakistan’s problems.
“It was agreed to continue with the momentum of high-level bilateral exchanges to further solidify strategic cooperative gains between the two countries,” the statement added.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Monday appreciated the prime minister’s statement on CPEC, adding that Beijing was in touch with various parties, including Afghanistan, on extending the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Addressing a regular press briefing, he said that the BRI was an open and inclusive international economic cooperation initiative dedicated to improving connectivity and achieving common development. “The CPEC, as pioneering projects of the Belt and Road Initiative, has made important and major progress in infrastructure, energy, ports, and industrial parks,” he added.
He said extending the initiative to regional countries would boost faster economic development in Pakistan and also boost regional connectivity. To a question, according to the APP news agency, he dismissed Indian claims of CPEC passing through disputed territory. “The CPEC is an economic initiative that targets no third country. It is not about territorial disputes and does not affect our principled position on the issue of Kashmir,” he added.