Pakistan, China agree to build 'upgraded version of CPEC'

FM Ishaq Dar lauds China's steadfast support to Pakistan’s sovereignty, integrity and principled stance on Kashmir dispute

May 15, 2024
Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Senator Ishaq Dar shakes hands with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during fifth round of the Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue, Beijing, China, May 15, 2024. — X/ForeignOfficePk

Islamabad and Beijing on Wednesday agreed to actively and steadily promote third-party participation in the joint project – China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — to further expand bilateral cooperation.

Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a joint press stakeout expressed satisfaction over the steady pace of CPEC and vowed to “further upgrade and expand this cooperation”. Both sides also endorsed finalising the modalities for the third-party participation in the multi-billion project.


The two sides, after co-chairing the fifth Pakistan-China Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue held here at Diaoyutai State Guest House, spoke about their in-depth discussion on the multiple facets of their bilateral relations including CPEC and cooperation on counter-terrorism.

Terming the Sino-Pak ties as “all-weather strategic partnership”, Dar and Wang expressed commitment to continue extending support to each other on issues of core interest.

Dar said the country looked forward to further enhancing China’s “development footprint” as in the last 10 years, the CPEC transformed Pakistan’s economic landscape by eliminating power outages and by developing a robust infrastructure network.

The two sides, he said, would pace up the implementation of the Main Line-1 railway line project, Gwadar Port development, realignment of Phase 2 of the Karakorum Highway, and boost cooperation in agriculture, mining, minerals, energy, information technology, and industry sectors.

“As we embark on the second phase of CPEC, we look forward to developing corridors of growth, livelihood, innovation, green development, and inclusivity,” he added.

Dar said the two sides were unanimous in the view that the Karakorum Highway was the “linchpin of the China-Pakistan geographical connectivity and an important artery of CPEC”. It has been agreed to implement the previous understanding to commence all-weather operations of the Khunjerab-Sust border crossing soon, he added.

He lauded China’s steadfast support of Pakistan’s sovereignty, integrity, and right to development, particularly “China’s principled stance on the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir”.

He briefed the Chinese foreign minister on the threats to regional peace and security that continue to emanate from India’s illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, its unilateral actions and hostile posture.

The deputy premier said that as a strategic partner and trusted friend, Pakistan would continue to support China on all its core issues.

He highlighted Pakistan’s vision to attract foreign investment in diverse sectors under the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) and commended China’s readiness to deepen financial, bilateral trade and investment ties.

He emphasised the extensive and elaborate measures the government had taken to protect Chinese interests in Pakistan.

'Upgraded version of CPEC'

The Chinese FM said the “comprehensive and in-depth strategic communication” with the Pakistani side focused on China-Pakistan relations, cooperation in various fields, and international and regional issues of common concern.

He said the two sides agreed to strengthen the docking of development strategies and build an “upgraded version of CPEC” in a bid to help Pakistan better realise economic development, including scientific and technological innovation and green development.

“At the same time, we will actively and steadily promote third-party cooperation in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” he said.

Wang Yi emphasised cooperation in industry, agriculture, mining, new energy and information technology according to local conditions to help Pakistan realise sustainable development, and establish major connectivity projects.

He said China appreciated that the Pakistani side firmly adhered to the one-China principle and supported China on issues related to Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

“China will, as always, firmly support the Pakistani side in safeguarding the country’s sovereignty, independence, peace and development and support it in taking the path consistent with its national conditions,” he added.

The Chinese foreign minister said that China would support the Pakistani side in firmly combating terrorism and playing a greater role in international and regional affairs.

“We will give full play to the role of various consultation and cooperation mechanisms in the political and security fields, and give unwavering support to each other on issues of mutual core interests and major concerns,” he said.

He said China and Pakistan would further deepen counter-terrorism security cooperation.

The two sides agreed on cooperation in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world at large.