Saturday June 15, 2024

China hopes Pakistan political forces will uphold stability

Bilawal opposes bloc politics and great power competition, emphasizing Pakistan's stance against such approaches

By Mariana Baabar
May 07, 2023
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari receives Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad. — Twitter/@ForeignOfficePk
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari receives Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad. — Twitter/@ForeignOfficePk

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Saturday announced that both countries which have stood with each other for decades would continue to stand with each other in the future decades to come, to ensure peace and stability in the region especially Afghanistan, as it remained vital to the socio-economic prosperity, connectivity, and development in the region.

China as Pakistan’s good neighbour, friend, and partner, sincerely hoped that the political forces in Pakistan will build consensus uphold stability and more effectively address domestic and external challenges so that it could focus on growing the economy, improving people’s lives and bringing the country into a fast track towards development and rejuvenation.

China commended Pakistan in its fight against terrorism and firmly believed that Pakistan will be the victor in counterterrorism, while Pakistan appreciated China’s “principled and just stance” on the issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) as well as its “firm support for Pakistan’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and national development, said a joint statement issued by Pakistan and China after dialogue between both the countries, said a joint statement issued by Pakistan and China after dialogue between both the countries.

Acknowledging the endeavours and sacrifices made by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and extremism, the Chinese side appreciated the measures taken by Pakistan to ensure enhanced security of Chinese projects, personnel and institutions in Pakistan, as well as the steps taken to apprehend and bring to justice the perpetrators targeting Chinese nationals in Dasu, Karachi and other attacks. The two sides agreed to further build on the cooperation in security and counter-terrorism domains.

The Chinese foreign minister reiterated that the Kashmir dispute was left over from history between India and Pakistan and should be properly and peacefully resolved in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. Both sides opposed any unilateral actions that further complicate the already volatile situation.

China also held out an assurance to Kabul that together with Pakistan they were ready to actively support and help Afghanistan with its economic reconstruction but it was important that the Taliban take the security concerns of its neighbours seriously and take stronger measures to counter various terror forces within Afghanistan.

Both sides in their talks emphasised that there should be a stable Afghanistan which would firmly combat terrorism and live in harmony with its neighbours.

The two sides underscored the need for the international community to provide continued assistance and support to Afghanistan, including through unfreezing of Afghanistan’s overseas financial assets. The two sides agreed to continue their humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people and enhance development cooperation in Kabul, including through the extension of CPEC to Afghanistan, said the Foreign Office.

The Foreign Office saw several meetings between Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his visiting Chinese counterpart Qin Gang.

Delegation-level talks were held followed by a one-on-one meeting between the two foreign ministers who had earlier met during the SCO meeting in Goa.

Later, the two sides held the 4th Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue which was followed by a joint press briefing. The Chinese side on their request did not want the statement of Qin Gang to be aired live.

Bilateral talks were also held between Pakistan and Afghanistan at the Foreign Office, while China also held bilateral talks with Afghanistan.

Afghan officials said that the bilateral with China focused on “important” political, commercial, economic, transit and bilateral issues” were discussed.

Before the two ministers joined their Afghan counterpart Amir Khan Muttaqi for the fifth China-Pakistan-Afghanistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue, Minister Bilawal told the media that peace and stability in Afghanistan was important for the region’s socioeconomic development and vowed to work together with all stakeholders, including China, towards its achievement.

During the media briefing, Bilawal reiterated Pakistan’s firm support for China “on all its core issues, including One-China policy, Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea”.

“Pakistan remains profoundly grateful to China for its generous and timely assistance as we continue to grapple with the headwinds in a global economy, and we remain against bloc politics or great power competition of any kind,” he added.

While commenting on CPEC, Minister Bilawal said: “CPEC remains a shining example of the Belt and Road Cooperation, which is accelerated socioeconomic development, job creation and improvement of the people’s livelihoods in Pakistan. We are committed to remaining engaged with China to promote south-south cooperation, especially in light of emerging global concerns like human-induced climate change.”

He pointed out that this year marks the completion of a decade of CPEC project which has accelerated socio economic development, job creation and improvement of people’s livelihoods in Pakistan. He said that this corridor project remains a win-win economic initiative opened to all investors around the world.

On the same issue, the Chinese foreign minister said that his counterpart had briefed him on the measures that Pakistan had taken to protect Chinese citizens which were appreciated.

“I believe that Pakistani people do not need empty talks. What they need is concrete assistance. As Pakistan’s iron friend, China will as always work with Pakistan through the platform of CPEC, align our development strategies, share China’s development opportunities and build an even closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future,” said Qin Gang.

The Chinese foreign minister made it clear to all stakeholders that unless there was internal stability inside Pakistan, CPEC projects could not move ahead.

“China sincerely hopes Pakistan political forces can get together and overcome issues of political stability so that they can grow on the economic front together with us,” he told the joint press conference.

Calling for political stability inside Pakistan, Qin Gang remarked: “We sincerely believe that the political forces in Pakistan will build consensus, uphold stability and more effectively address domestic and external challenges so that it could focus on growing the economy, improving people’s lives.”

Stability, he emphasised, is the premise of development which is in turn rooted in security. He reiterated Chinese firm support for Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity as well as its unity, stability and economic prosperity.

Given the financial constraints of Pakistan, the Chinese foreign minister said that the current financial and foreign exchange pressure on Islamabad will prompt Beijing to take a close look at possible solutions and will do its best to help Pakistan address such pressure.

“I want to reiterate that financial cooperation between China and Pakistan is for the economic development and the betterment of people’s lives in Pakistan. For those, who are making such false accusations about debt traps, I suggest that you ask those people what have they done for the national development and well-being of the Pakistani people what kind of investment they have made in Pakistan”, the minister said without naming the US which has been critical of CPEC.

During the Pakistan -China Strategic Dialogue, the Foreign Office said: “The entire range of bilateral relations and cooperation, including in political, strategic, economic, defence security, education and cultural domains was reviewed. Regional and global issues of mutual interest were discussed.”

Reviewing their cooperation on regional and international issues at multilateral forums such as the United Nations and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the two sides agreed to further deepen their coordination and cooperation to safeguard mutual interests. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and support for multilateralism, free trade and win-win cooperation.