ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan left Islamabad on Monday for Beijing for his three-day official visit to China at the invitation of Premier of the State Council of the Peoples' Republic of China Li Keqiang, his third official tour of the neighbouring country since becoming the prime minister last year.
During the visit, the prime minister will meet the Chinese leadership, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. A number of agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) are expected to be signed at a ceremony to be witnessed by the two prime ministers.
PM Imran is accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar besides his advisers on commerce and petroleum and the Chairman of the Board of Investment (BOI).
Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa will also join the prime minister's meetings with President Xi and Premier Li on Tuesday (today). Both sides will exchange views on regional situation, particularly in the aftermath of India’s August 5 move to change status of occupied Kashmir.
The visit of the Prime Minister is in continuation of the long-established tradition of the leadership of the two countries meeting regularly and consulting closely on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Among other things, the prime minister will apprise the Chinese leadership of the government's recent decisions to speed up implementation of ongoing projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
There will be interaction with senior representatives of the Chinese business and corporate sector for deepening bilateral trade, commercial and investment partnership. The prime minister will also attend the closing ceremony of the Beijing International Horticulture Expo, as the chief guest.
“The visit of the prime minister is in continuation of the long-established tradition of the leaderships of the two countries meeting regularly and consulting closely on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Monday.
“The visit will be instrumental in further cementing Pakistan's economic, investment and strategic ties with China. [The prime minister will apprise the Chinese leadership of the government's efforts to project CPEC as a High-Quality Demonstration Project of BRI (Belt and Road Initiative),” it added.
On Sunday, Planning Minister Bakhtiar said that the prime minister’s Beijing visit would include talks on the ML-1 railway, one of the CPEC projects. He denied that there had been any slowdown in CPEC projects. “I reject it [a narrative that CPEC has become slow], it's totally wrong," he said.
With input from agencies