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China's Xi says will support Pakistan in stabilising its financial situation

  • Announces additional assistance package of RMB 500 million for Pakistan’s flood relief efforts'
  • Accepts PM Shehbaz's invitation to visit Pakistan
Published November 2, 2022

BEIJING: China will continue to support Pakistan in stabilising its financial situation, state media quoted China's President Xi Jinping as saying on Wednesday, during a visit by Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Beijing.

PM in Beijing to discuss debt, CPEC

China's central bank and the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) have signed a memorandum of cooperation recently for the establishment of RMB clearing arrangement in Pakistan, in a bid to facilitate the use of RMB for cross-border transactions by enterprises and financial institutions in both countries, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said on Wednesday.

China and Pakistan should also move forward more effectively with the construction of their economic corridor, as well as accelerate the construction of infrastructure for the Gwadar Sea Port, Xi told PM Shehbaz during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People.

China has been involved in major mining and infrastructure projects in Pakistan, including the deep-water Gwadar port, all part of the $65 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Xi added that the countries should work together to create conditions for the early implementation of the Mainline-1 (ML-1) railway upgrading project and the Karachi Circular Railway project.

China will also export technology for a 160 km/h high-speed railway train to Pakistan, state broadcaster CCTV said on Wednesday.

The developments and projects in Pakistan, a longtime Chinese ally, are part of Xi's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to improve China's road, rail and sea routes with the rest of the world.

China welcomes Pakistan to expand high-quality agricultural exports to the country, and is willing to deepen cooperation in areas including the digital economy, e-commerce, photovoltaic and other new energy sources, Xi said.

Shehbaz was one of the first leaders to meet Xi since he secured in October a third term as leader of the ruling Communist Party.

APP adds

Meanwhile, Pakistan's state media APP reported that President Xi assured continued support for Pakistan’s sustainable economic and strategic projects including the Main Line-1 (ML-1) rail track and announced an additional assistance package of RMB 500 million for the country’s flood relief efforts.

In a meeting held at the People’s Great Hall, the two leaders reaffirmed their mutual commitment to CPEC, and agreed that as a project of strategic importance, both sides would make joint efforts to “launch the ML-1 as an early harvest project under the CPEC framework”.

Both leaders also acknowledged the need for a mass-transit project in Karachi and agreed to finalise all formalities for the early launch of the Karachi Circular Railway.

The two leaders discussed cooperation across a range of issues, including defence, trade and investment, agriculture, health, education, green energy, science and technology, and disaster preparedness.

The two leaders exchanged views on the rapid transformation in the international environment, which had exacerbated economic challenges for developing countries.

They agreed that contemporary challenges like climate change, health pandemics, and growing inequalities needed unqualified cooperation among states, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.

CPEC vital to ensuring SCO’s vision of shared prosperity: Bilawal

Prime Minister Shehbaz and President Xi also acknowledged that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan would promote regional security and economic development and agreed that CPEC’s extension to Afghanistan would strengthen regional connectivity initiatives.

The prime minister also extended a warm invitation to President Xi to visit Pakistan at an early date, which the latter accepted.

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