- Pakistan and China agree to work together to make optimum use of phase-II of China–Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Sunday expressed their firm resolve to synergizing development strategies, pushing forward all CPEC projects in a safe, smooth and high-quality manner, and also agreed to make optimum use of Phase-II of CPFTA and work together to diversify their trade ties.
The resolve was expressed through a joint statement, issued at the conclusion of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s two-day official visit to China for his first official bilateral trip after taking office as Foreign Minister at the invitation of State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
“Both sides expressed firm resolve to synergize development strategies, pushing forward all China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in a safe, smooth, and high-quality manner, promoting cooperation in areas such as economy and trade, investment, industry, agriculture, health, and science and technology, contributing to the peoples’ well-being and delivering greater benefits to local communities,” said the joint statement.
Noting with satisfaction the record bilateral trade achieved last year, it added that the two sides agreed to work together to make optimum use of phase-II of China–Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) and work together to diversify their trade ties with deepening cooperation in export-oriented sectors in Pakistan and integrating value chains of the two countries.
It further stated that the two sides noted with satisfaction the steady growth of economic cooperation between China and Pakistan. In this context, they agreed that CPEC has effectively improved Pakistan’s infrastructure and boosted its socio-economic development.
“Both sides also agreed on stronger collaboration in the services sector and skill development in the areas of tourism, education, financial and information technology sectors,” it added.
During the visit, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held in-depth discussions on the entire gamut of bilateral relations, as well as, regional and international issues of shared interest.
“The talks were conducted in a warm and friendly atmosphere, in line with the finest tradition of mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries,” it stated, adding that the two sides agreed that amidst profound regional and international changes, the importance of China-Pakistan strategic relations has assumed even greater significance.
“As all-weather strategic cooperative partners, China and Pakistan share ironclad mutual trust and friendship, which is a source of peace, stability, and prosperity for the region and beyond. Both sides reaffirmed their strong support for each other’s core interests and major concerns, and commitment to deepening strategic communication including at the highest political level and practical cooperation, and building an even stronger China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era,” the statement added.
The two sides expressed satisfaction at the growing momentum of bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges. They underlined that China-Pakistan defence cooperation was in fact a factor of peace and stability in the region, it added.
The two sides termed terrorism as the common enemy of humanity, it stated, adding that they once again strongly condemned the Karachi University Confucius Institute terrorist attack.
Pakistan reiterated that efforts will be made to speed up investigation, hunt down the culprits, and bring them to justice. Pakistan briefed the Chinese side on its efforts to ensure the safety of all Chinese nationals, projects, and institutions in the country, it added.
“China appreciated Pakistan’s commitment to the safety and security of Chinese nationals. Pakistan and China will further enhance counter-terrorism and security cooperation,” it stated, adding that the two sides called on the regional countries and the international community to form synergy and fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The two sides expressed their determination not to allow anyone to damage China-Pakistan iron brotherhood, it added.
In the face of multiple traditional and non-traditional global challenges, the two sides agreed on the need for international cooperation and solidarity. They noted that, based on the principles of win-win cooperation and shared benefits, Belt and Road cooperation has become an open and inclusive platform for international cooperation and is widely welcomed as a global public good.
“The China-proposed Global Development Initiative (GDI) and Global Security Initiative (GSI) are new initiatives to respond to the pressing challenges facing the humanity,” it stated, adding that both countries stand ready to work with other countries to focus on the development agenda, tackle security challenges, implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.
The two sides discussed the Ukraine situation, noting the necessity of being alert to the negative spill overs of the Ukraine crisis, in particular preventing its impact on developing countries, and called on relevant parties involved in the conflict to resolve differences and disputes through diplomacy and dialogue.
Through the statement, the two sides reaffirmed the firm commitment to upholding the UN-cantered international system, the international order based on international law, and the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, practicing true multilateralism, and promoting democracy and rule of law in international relations.
The two sides underscored that Asia, with its rich history, civilizational heritage and growing economic potential, is playing a leading role for peace, prosperity, and economic development in the region and beyond.
The two sides hoped that in the pursuance of these cherished goals, the regional countries would uphold Asian values of mutual respect, equality and win-win cooperation, and build an open and inclusive regional architecture, safeguard peace and stability in the region, and advance common development and prosperity.
Both sides reiterated that a peaceful and prosperous South Asia is in the common interest of all parties. Given the challenges faced by the peoples of the region, due to global pandemic, soaring commodity prices, climate change and poverty, they stated that it is critical to resolve all outstanding disputes to promote regional cooperation and advance the goals of lasting peace, stability and shared prosperity.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari briefed the Chinese side about the latest developments in Jammu and Kashmir. The two sides underlined the importance of the peaceful resolution of the dispute based on the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.
The two sides discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan. The two sides agreed that peace and stability in Afghanistan was vital for regional development and prosperity.
The two sides called upon the Afghan interim government to develop a broad-based and inclusive political structure, adopt moderate and sound internal and external policies, and protect the rights of women and children and ensure that the Afghan soil is not used against any of its neighbours.
Both sides called on the international community to help avert humanitarian crisis and earnestly honour the pledges on Afghanistan’s economic reconstruction and future development.
“Both sides support the continued contribution of the mechanism of coordination and cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and expressed readiness to work with all parties to implement the Tunxi Initiative of the Neighbouring Countries of Afghanistan on Supporting Economic Reconstruction and Practical Cooperation with Afghanistan and provide all possible support for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan,” the statement added.
The two sides also reiterated their readiness to extend CPEC to Afghanistan in consultation with the Afghan interim government and to the mutual benefit of all parties.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari thanked State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for the safe and secure return of Pakistani students in a phased manner to China. The two sides also decided to resume direct flight between the two countries carried out by Pakistan airlines at the earliest and subsequently increase directs flights based on the evolving pandemic situation.
Foreign Minister Bilawal thanked State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for the hospitality extended to him and his delegation in the finest Chinese tradition of hospitality. Wang Yi accepted his invitation to visit Pakistan for Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue, the joint statement added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022