ISLAMABAD, Jul 31 (NNI): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project will usher in a new era of relationship between Pakistan and China as both countries signed a slew of agreements in Islamabad.
Shehbaz Sharif was addressing a ceremony held in Islamabad on Monday where a string of Memoranda of Understanding were signed between Pakistan and China where Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng was also present.
Prime Minister Shehbaz said that the foundation stone of the CPEC was laid a decade ago. An investment of more than $25 billion had so far been made in this project, he added.
The CPEC involves road, infrastructure and IT projects, the premier said adding that ‘CPEC will usher in a new era of relationship between Pakistan and China’. He said that they are striving for the progress of the region as per the vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
As per details, Pakistan and China have signed six agreements and MOUs for promotion of bilateral cooperation. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and visiting Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng in Islamabad on Monday.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal and the Vice Chairman of National Development and Reforms Commission of People’s Republic of China signed the document on the joint cooperation committee of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The second document signed by Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal and the Vice Chairman of National Development and Reforms Commission of People’s Republic of China was related to the establishment of an experts exchange mechanism within the framework of CPEC.
The third document was signed by the Secretary Ministry of National Food Security Zafar Hassan and the Chinese Charge D’Affaires Pang Chunxue for the export of dried Chillies from Pakistan to China.
Member Planning of National Highway Authority Asim Amin and Chinese Charge D’Affaires Pang Chunxue signed the fourth document on the realignment of Karakoram Highway Phase II project feasibility study.
The two sides also signed through diplomatic channels the MOU on Industrial Workers’ Exchange Program.
The two sides agreed to promote the strategic ML-1 project.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the documents signed today are aimed at further enhancing economic relations between Pakistan and China.
The Prime Minister said under the CPEC, more than 25 billion dollars’ worth of investment has taken place in Pakistan’s power and hydel sector, road infrastructure and public transport. He said we are now entering the second phase of the CPEC which will envisage investments in sectors such as agriculture and information technology.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan is absolutely ready to contribute towards Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision of shared destiny of progress and prosperity. He said both ML-1 and Karachi circular railway projects are of immense importance, expressing the confidence that both the sides will successfully achieve these and many other projects. He was confident that this will help Pakistan stand on its own feet. He said we will emulate the Chinese model of development to achieve peace and prosperity in the country.
The Prime Minister said both Pakistan and China enjoy a unique relationship. He said we are all weather friends, iron brothers and this friendship will continue and will not tolerate any obstacles in its way.
Chinese Vice-Premier He Lifeng was accorded warm welcome when he reached the PM House in Islamabad on Monday with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif himself receiving the dignitary.
On his arrival, Prime Minister Shehbaz received the foreign dignitary at the main entrance of the PM House. Later, he introduced his delegation to the Chinese vice-premier comprising federal cabinet members Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Ishaq Dar, Rana Sanaullah, Syed Naveed Qamar, Ahsan Iqbal, Saad Rafiq, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Hina Rabbani Khar and Tariq Fatemi.
This followed the introduction of the Chinese delegation to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif by the visiting dignitary.
At the invitation of the Government of Pakistan, Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping, the Vice Premier of China and Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, is visiting Islamabad to attend the 10th-anniversary celebrations of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Earlier in the day, PM Shehbaz shared a tweet to welcome the Chinese vice premier and members of his delegation to Pakistan.
The prime minister said they are visiting Pakistan to join us in celebrating the 10th anniversary of CPEC and witnessing first-hand the transformations brought about by this game-changing initiative. “It is my pleasure to warmly welcome the Chinese Vice-Premier H.E. He Lifeng and members of his delegation to Pakistan. They are visiting Pakistan to join us in celebrating the 10th anniversary of CPEC and witnessing first-hand the transformations brought about by this game-changing initiative,” the prime minister wrote on a microblogging site.
“During his visit, He Lifeng will call on President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif,” according to the Foreign Office spokesperson. NNI