FM, ISI chief in Beijing on crucial visit

FO says talks to focus on defence and security cooperation, Covid-19 vaccines, counterterrorism

Kamran Yousaf July 24, 2021


Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi arrived in Beijing on Friday on a crucial trip where the two sides would focus on how to ensure security of Chinese nationals in Pakistan after the recent incident in Kohistan.

Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed is reportedly also in the Chinese capital to brief the authorities there about the outcome of investigation into Kohistan bus incident in which 9 Chinese were killed.

The Foreign Office confirmed that Qureshi arrived in Beijing but there was no official word on the visit of the DG ISI, something that is not unusual as visits of a the country’s spymaster often kept under wraps.

Read more: FM Qureshi leaves for China on two-day visit

Nevertheless, the visit by Foreign Minister Qureshi and the DG ISI is seen as significant as questions have been raised about the future of Chinese investment in the country in the wake of Kohistan incident.

The foreign minister will reassure China about the safety and security of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan. He will also seek fresh date for the meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC), the apex forum for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

The JCC meeting was supposed to take place on July 16 after a gap of 20 months. However, the meeting was postponed at the last minute at the request of China. The cause of delay was not cited but the Kohistan incident apparently was the main reason.

Despite these issues, the Foreign Office statement was upbeat about the outcome of Qureshi’s visit.

During Qureshi’s visit, the official statement said, both sides will inter alia discuss further deepening of bilateral relations, focus on cooperation in the high quality development under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), defence and security cooperation, Covid-19 vaccines, counter-terrorism and regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Read Chinese investigators arrive in Pakistan to probe Dasu bus incident

“The visit will play an important role in further strengthening Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and will expand strategic communication and coordination with China on a range of issues,” the statement said.

The statement added that this year, Pakistan and China were celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral diplomatic relations. More than 100 celebratory events had been planned of which over 60 events have already been held so far. These celebrations have immensely contributed to injecting a fresh vigour and warmth in the traditional friendship.

“Pakistan and China are the closest friends and staunch partners. The time-tested Pakistan-China relationship is based on unparalleled mutual trust, understanding and commonality of interests. Both sides are fully committed to building closer China-Pakistan Community of Shared Future,” according to the Foreign Office.

Earlier, in a video statement before leaving for Beijing, Qureshi expressed his confidence that his visit would further strengthen bilateral fraternal relations. He said that bilateral strategic agenda would be discussed in his meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

“The two sides will exchange views on the situation in Afghanistan and the region,” Qureshi said. He added that a detailed meeting on the progress made so far on the projects related to CPEC and its future strategy would also be held.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during his regular briefing in Beijing that this year marked the 70th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties. “The two countries have become the positive energy in the world peace, stability and development,” Zhao added.

Responding to a question about the killing of nine Chinese and four Pakistan in the Kohistan bus tragedy, Zhao said that both the countries were still investigating the Dasu incident and he had no more information to offer at the moment.



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