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CPEC revitalisation in focus as PM Shehbaz reaches for first official China visit

PM Shehbaz Sharif leads high-level delegation to Beijing on maiden visit at invitation of his Chinese counterpart

By APP & Web Desk
November 01, 2022
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — Twitter/PTV
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — Twitter/PTV

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Tuesday he plans to hold discussions with the Chinese leadership on strengthening bilateral relations, and particularly the revitalisation of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

PM Shehbaz Sharif is in China on a two-day official visit — which is his maiden visit since he took the office of the prime minister — at the invitation of Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.

The high-level delegation includes Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari among others, announced the Foreign Office spokesperson.

Ahead of his departure, the prime minister said in a tweet that the second phase of CPEC promises to usher in a new era of socio-economic progress that would uplift quality of the people’s lives.

“There is a lot to learn from Chinese economic miracle,” he said in a tweet, stressing that his discussions with Chinese leadership would focus on revitalisation of CPEC among many other things.

The prime minister said he was honoured to be among the first few leaders to have been invited after the historic 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

“At a time when the world is grappling with multiple challenges, Pakistan and China stand together as friends and partners,” he said.

The prime minister is among the first leaders to visit Beijing following the historic 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, said the FO spokesperson.

The spokesperson said that the visit is also expected to advance the wide-ranging bilateral cooperation agenda after the conclusion of a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and agreements expected to be signed at the 11th meeting of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC).

“The prime minister’s visit represents the continuity of frequent leadership-level exchanges between Pakistan and China. The prime minister will meet with President Xi Jinping and hold delegation-level talks with Premier Li Keqiang. The two sides will review the all-weather strategic cooperation partnership and exchange views on regional and global developments,” said the spokesperson.

China investing billions in CPEC projects

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday expressed confidence that his meetings with the Chinese leadership during his visit to China would be helpful in promoting strategic, economic and cultural ties between the two countries.

Addressing the first meeting of Pakistan-China Business and Investment Forum here, the prime minister stressed building a strong business-to-business partnership between Pakistan and China to further expand the bilateral relationship and augment China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s dividends.

“I look forward to meeting the Chinese leadership for a series of productive and fruitful meetings aimed at boosting business and people-to-people relations,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister said that there was a need to double efforts to connect with the Chinese business houses and create an enabling environment to attract Chinese investments and emphasized creating favourable environment for building business-to-business relationships.

The prime minister said he strongly believes that the CPEC has been a game changer in building our business relations and so far billions of dollars of investment have already been committed by the Chinese companies and investing billions of dollars on CPEC projects.