ISLAMABAD, Jul 31 (NNI): Pakistan and China have agreed on the centrality of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for Pakistan’s socio-economic development and expressed their firm resolve to continue working together for realizing the shared objectives.

The understanding to this effect was reached during a meeting between visiting Chinese Vice Premier and President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative He Lifeng and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad Monday.

During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on several aspects of bilateral relations including CPEC and bilateral economic and financial cooperation.

Expressing satisfaction over the steady development of CPEC projects in Pakistan, the two sides also agreed that 10th anniversary of CPEC celebrations constituted a fresh starting point to further expand CPEC as envisaged by the leadership of the two countries.

Noting the unanimity of views between the two countries on regional issues, the two sides vowed to support each other on all issues of core interests.

Welcoming the Chinese Vice-Premier to Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif congratulated him on being promoted as the Vice-Premier of China in March this year.

The Prime Minister, appreciating China’s support for Pakistan’s economic development, observed that as strategic partners and trusted friends, the two countries have always stood by each other in difficult times, as evidenced by Chinese support to Pakistan during COVID-19 pandemic and devastating floods in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chinese Vice Premier conveyed President Xi Jinping message of China’s firm support to Pakistan’s prosperity and development.

He underlined that Pak-China friendship is unique and has withstood the vicissitudes of time due to deep fraternal ties between the peoples of two nations.

He Lifeng reiterated that as an iron-brother and strategic partner, China would continue its existing economic and financial support to Pakistan.

Welcoming Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s vision for deepening bilateral trade and investment ties, the Vice Premier conveyed China’s willingness to enhance Pakistan’s agro and food exports to Beijing.

The Chinese delegation included Guo Wei, Deputy Secretary General of the State Council of China, Sun Weidong, Vice Minister of Foreign Ministry, Cong Liang, Vice Chairman National Development & Reform Commission, Xuan Changneng, Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Wang Kebing, Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Wang Liping, Director General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce, Pang Chunxue, Charge d’Affaires, Chinese Embassy Islamabad and other senior Chinese officials.

The Pakistan side included Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Commerce, Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Rana Sanaullah Khan, Minister for Interior, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister for Information, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Minister for Railways, Hina Rabbani Khar, MOS for Foreign Affairs, Syed Tariq Fatemi, SAPM and senior officials from relevant ministries.

After the meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Vice Premier He oversaw the ceremony for signing of agreements, MoUs and other documents covering areas including agriculture; industrial cooperation; transport connectivity, etc.

Later, the prime minister hosted a luncheon in honour of He Lifeng and the accompanying delegation. NNI


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