ISLAMABAD: Chinese ruling Party Secretary Ma Xingrui has revealed that Chinese President Xi Jinping had desired to make CPEC an “exemplary” project of the BRI, with Xinjiang playing a central role for regional and economic development.
The party secretary reaffirmed his government’s strong commitment to fully realize the potential of Khunjerab-Sost-Kashgar border market. He met visiting former federal minister of Pakistan Ahsan Iqbal in Urumqi. Senator Rana Mahmood-ul-Hassan was also present on the occasion.
Ma Xingrui, who is a member of Polit Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Xinjiang Uyghurs Autonomous Regional Committee, welcomed the Pakistan delegation and officials of Pakistan’s embassy in Beijing.
Erkin Tuniyas, Governor of Xinjiang, Chen Weijun, Executive Vice-Chairman of the People’s Government of Xinjiang, Kaysar Abdukerin, Vice Chairman of the People’s Government of Xinjiang, and other high-ranking officials from Xinjiang also attended the meeting.
Welcoming the Pakistani side, Party Secretary Ma Xingrui remarked that both countries have withstood the vicissitudes of time. He conveyed President Xi Jinping’s strong commitment to further solidify Pakistan-China strategic cooperative partnership in diverse fields.
Party Secretary Ma lauded statesmanship, professionalism & educational background of Ahsan Iqbal which enabled valuable contribution towards the development and success of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He called him a seasoned and an accomplished politician who would make more contribution towards the success of CPEC in the future.
Ahsan Iqbal congratulated the senior leadership of Xinjiang on the successful hosting of the China-Eurasia Commodity and Trade Expo-2023 in Urumqi. He praised the CPC leadership for achieving significant industrial growth and economic development and addressing terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang.
Remarking that Xinjiang is strategically located on the map of the world, Iqbal termed Xinjiang as a “gateway” to Pakistan and proposed to establish a Border Market across Khunjerab Pass to promote trade, development and investment across both countries.
In that context, he shared his vision to connect Xinjiang with Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Gwadar regions through the development of road and railway network, which can provide Xinjiang the shortest route to seaport. While recalling ‘All Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership’ between the two “iron brothers”, he also proposed to establish a dedicated Joint Working Group on promotion of trade, development and cultural cooperation between GB and Xinjiang, under the framework of CPEC.
Highlighting the importance of CPEC, Iqbal termed the project “strategic” and emphasized the importance of working together for the completion of the second phase of the high-quality development of CPEC. He said, “Strong links between Xinjiang and Gilgit-Baltistan are vital for the success of CPEC.” He urged the need for exchange programmes between Xinjiang & GB universities for promoting youth engagement.
Senator Mahmood-ul-Hassan proposed to streamline custom clearance procedures at Tashgurkan and Urumqui airport to facilitate trade and commercial activities. He highlighted the need to promote cooperation in the fields of agriculture and livestock, while transferring breeding technology to Pakistan.
Emphasizing the importance of enhancing trade and investment cooperation, he invited Chinese enterprises from Xinjiang region to participate in the Pakistan-Xinjiang Trade and Investment Conference in Pakistan.
Party Secretary Ma Xingrui accepted the proposal to establish a border market at Pak-China border and directed to establish a team to work out details. Both sides agreed to establish a Joint Working Group to develop a long-term Collaboration Plan through structured engagement between GB and Xinjiang for enhancement of trade, development, investment and connectivity. It was termed necessary to strengthen people-to-people contacts, cultural and educational exchange programmes between the two sides.
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