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Pakistan

PM Shehbaz to discuss 'CPEC revitalisation' as he arrives in China

  • Says there is a lot to learn from Chinese economic miracle
Published November 1, 2022
PM Shehbaz to discuss 'CPEC revitalisation' as he arrives in China

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived in Beijing on a two-day visit to China on Tuesday, with “revitalisation of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor)” high on the agenda.

Accompanied by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Railways Minister Saad Rafique and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, the prime minister is undertaking the visit at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

During his visit, the PM will also seek some debt relief from China, in particular the rolling over of bilateral debt, an aide travelling with the prime minister told Reuters.

Chinese loans – around $23 billion – make up the largest chunk of Pakistan's $27 billion of bilateral debt.

This will be Shehbaz’s first visit to China since assuming office in April this year and follows his meeting with President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan on September 16 of this year.

“My discussions with Chinese leadership will focus on revitalization of CPEC among many other things,” said PM Shehbaz in a post on his Twitter handle before his departure. The PM said that the second phase of CPEC promises to usher in a new era of socio-economic progress that will uplift quality of our people's lives.

“There is a lot to learn from Chinese economic miracle,” he said.

PM Shehbaz said he was honoured to be among the first few leaders to have been invited after the historic 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

PM leaves for China today

“At a time when the world is grappling with multiple challenges, Pakistan and China stand together as friends and partners,” he said.

The prime minister will meet with President Xi and hold delegation-level talks with Premier Li Keqiang.

The two sides will review the “all-weather strategic cooperation partnership” and exchange views on regional and global developments.

The visit is also expected to advance the wide-ranging bilateral cooperation agenda with the conclusion of a number of MoUs/ agreements in diverse areas.

PM Shehbaz during his talks with the Chinese leadership will also exchange views on the proposed reforms in the UN Security Council on which the two sides have similar views. Both China and Pakistan are among the countries that are against any expansion in permanent members of the Security Council.

Sources told Business Recorder that Pakistan will reportedly seek $ 10 billion financial support from China as additional Balance of Payment (BoP) support,and is also finalising drafts of over a dozen pacts including rescheduling of Chinese loans, opening of accounts in RMB and cyber security, to be signed during the PM’s visit.

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