ISLAMABAD: While affirming commitment to Pakistan, Chinese Foreign Minister and State Counselor Wang Yi has said China will always stand firmly with Pakistan no matter how the world changes.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, through a video link, was addressing a conference titled “Pakistan-China At 70: A Unique Bilateral Partnership” arranged by the Pakistan-China Institute (PCI) in commemoration of 70 years of Pakistan-China relations. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has also addressed the conference.
The conference brought together China and Pakistan’s key government officials, academicians, journalists, students and civil society members under one roof. The conference featured 24 esteemed panelists from Pakistan and China, who talked with one voice about the importance of upholding Pakistan-China all-weather strategic partnership.
At the start, an exclusive 10-minute documentary production of the PCI was played for the audience titled “Pakistan-China at 70: A Unique Bilateral Relationship” along with national anthems of Pakistan and China.
Chinese Foreign Minister and State Counselor Wang Yi highlighted that China and Pakistan were all-weather friends, who understand and respect each other despite social and cultural differences.
He stressed the need for practicing multilateralism, saying the zero-sum game emanating from the Cold War mentality should be rejected, and all countries should work together. He also said moving forward, Pakistan and China should join hands in safeguarding international peace and encourage other countries to join hands against regional security threats. He also thanked Senator Mushahid Hussain for promoting Pakistan-China friendship.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi talked about the Pakistan-China friendship, saying the cooperation between both the countries, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, was unprecedented.
He said China has so far donated 3.5 million doses of vaccine to Pakistan, adding Pakistan has always supported the Chinese core interests. He also talked about the educational cooperation between the two countries, which will also ensure cultural collaboration as well. Qureshi highlighted numerous celebrations in commemoration of 70 years of bilateral relationship between Pakistan and China and especially thanked the PCI for arranging the event with a dedicated panel of experts.
During the opening session, Chairman of Pakistan-China Institute, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed extended his heartfelt felicitations to the people of Pakistan and China for being fraternal and time-tested brothers, who have always enjoyed good relations. He highlighted how China has changed the destiny of one-fifth of humanity by lifting 800 million people out of poverty.
He also highlighted how the BRI has brought together 140 countries of different continents together through connectivity, ports, pipelines, economy and energy. He also said Pakistan is fortunate that the pilot and flagship project of the BRI, CPEC, is at the centerpiece of this global initiative to promote Corridors, Culture and Connectivity.
Senator Mushahid said Pakistan and China relations are unique because they are not against any third country. After the opening session, first session on "A Model State to State Partnership-Historical context" was held.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Sha Zukang expressed his sincere gratitude to Pakistan. He said China and Pakistan should focus on the CPEC and must ensure that the job is well done. He said CPEC is a two-way project of the BRI, which is inculcating new experience and expertise in both countries.
Lt-Gen (retd) Talat Masood highlighted how in the aftermath of 1965 war, China gave military assistance to Pakistan. He said as the two countries celebrate 70 years of their relationship, their shared future is bright and rests primarily on Pakistan’s own domestic matters. Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, talked about how China is a great friend that has given Pakistan the opportunity to develop. He said it is remarkable how two culturally-diverse countries are able to maintain such a close relationship.
The second session was “People to People Connectivity-The foundation of Pakistan-China friendship”. Shakeel Ramay, Adviser, Asian Institute of Eco civilization Research & Development, moderated the discussion.
Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director, PCI, labeled people-to-people connectivity pivotal to Pakistan-China relations. He highlighted the role of PCI in enabling youth exchanges, bilateral discussions, and opening up dialogue on the dynamic relationship shared by both countries. Professor Li Xiguang, Chair of the Pakistan Studies Center at Tsinghua University, said that the origin of friendship between Pakistan and China started years ago. He traced the spread of Buddhism to Pakistan and labeled it an important country for a belief system that has a lot of significance for the Chinese people.
Ambreen Shah, Vice President Legal & Corporate Affairs, China Power Hub, Generation Company (Pvt) Limited, said in her experience, the Chinese people are very positive, progressive and humble. She said the Chinese value feedback and input and do not carry out any gender discrimination, keeping respect and loyalty as the main ethos of their work. She also said that in China women hold key positions in companies as Chinese reward hard work.
The third session “Pakistan-China’s Shared Interests in the Changing Regional Scenario” was moderated by Ambassador Khalid Masood, who highlighted the importance of understanding, changing regional scenario in the post-pandemic world, as global alliances are being
His remarks were followed by Professor Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, Chairman of PM Task Force on Science and Technology, who said that Pakistan and China are collaborating on Covid research and also working for the educational exchanges. He also highlighted how the two countries will keep up their work in the field of medicine as well.
Lieutenant General (retd) Yaseen Malik highlighted how China is the only country in the region which has no historic baggage for Afghans. He said the China-Afghan relationship is likely to flourish once things are stabilized in Afghanistan.
During the fourth session, "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: The Way Forward," Mustafa Hyder Sayed moderated the discussion between Muhammad Aurangzeb, President & CEO, Habib Bank Limited and Adviser for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production, and Investment to the Prime Minister M Abdul Razak Dawood.
Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to Prime Minister for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production, and Investment talked about how eight new honorary investment counselors have expressed interest in investing in Pakistan.
He also talked about the incumbent government’s eagerness for promoting regional diversity under CPEC. Citing figures, Razak Dawood said during this fiscal year, Pakistan’s exports to China have risen by 30pc to reach a value of 2.3 billion per annum, whereas Chinese work visas to Pakistan have increased by 42pc.