- Premier Li assures Shehbaz of China’s readiness to enhance economic cooperation during phone call
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif affirmed his government's resolve to fast-track both the ongoing and the new projects that are part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative.
As per the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), PM Shehbaz held a "comprehensive" telephone call with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday.
The two discussed bilateral matters in detail, agreeing that they would not allow anyone to harm the long-standing partnership between the two countries. Premier Li assured his Pakistani counterpart of China’s readiness to enhance economic cooperation, expand trade and encourage greater investments from China to Pakistan.
The PM underscored the need for both sides to work together to fully operationalize the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Pakistan at an early date, the statement said.
"While recalling Pakistan-China sister-city partnerships, the prime minister expressed his desire to learn from the experience of those Chinese officials who have remained instrumental in setting up SEZs in their provinces," the PMO said.
The press release also said that PM Shehbaz expressed his commitment to working with "renewed zeal and enthusiasm in tandem with China, especially on projects of strategic significance for both the countries, such as the ML-1 project".
In March, during a virtual meeting between the CPEC Authority and the National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) of China, both neighbors agreed to execute the much-awaited mega ML-1 Pakistan Railway Up-gradation project.
Meanwhile, Shehbaz reiterated that Pakistan attached the highest importance to the safety, security and protection of all Chinese nationals working in Pakistan on economic projects and institutions as he offered his condolences over three Chinese nationals killed in a suicide blast at the University of Karachi on April 26.
"The Prime Minister strongly condemned the terrorist attack and reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm resolve to hold thorough investigation, to apprehend the perpetrators of this criminal act and to bring them to justice in accordance with our laws," the PMO statement said.
The two sides also agreed to enhance the momentum of exchanges to take bilateral cooperation to even higher levels.