Pakistan, China to hold strategic dialogue

Dar expected to travel to Beijing in the middle of May

Kamran Yousaf May 04, 2024


Pakistan and China will have a series of high-level engagements in the next three weeks as part of efforts to deepen their economic, political and strategic relationship, said people familiar with the development.

The first leg of the series of engagements includes the Pakistan-China strategic dialogue to be co-chaired by the foreign ministers of the two countries. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar is expected to travel to Beijing in the middle of this month.

He will lead a Pakistani delegation at strategic dialogue, an annual feature where both countries review their bilateral cooperation and discuss regional and international issues.

This would be the first visit by Foreign Minister Dar to Beijing since he took charge of his new responsibility. The visit is crucial as it not only discusses the key issues but also lays the ground for the visit of the prime minister.

Following Dar’s visit, another Pakistani delegation headed by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal would travel to the Chinese capital for the crucial meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC), an apex body of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). JCC is the primary forum where both sides not only review CPEC projects but also discuss new ventures.

The back-to-back meetings will pave the way for Shehbaz Sharif’s maiden visit to China since he returned to the Prime Minister's Office after the February 8 elections.

Sources said that the tentative dates for the prime minister’s visit to Beijing are the first week of June.

Pakistan has witnessed hectic diplomatic engagements since the new government took charge.

The prime minister visited Saudi Arabia twice in the space of a few weeks. In between his trip to Riyadh, the Saudi foreign minister led a high-powered delegation to Islamabad to explore opportunities for investment under the banner of the Special Investment Facilitation Council.

Read: Pakistan, Iran, China to hold talks on counter terrorism, security

Amid all this, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also undertook a visit to Pakistan, becoming the first head of state to travel to Islamabad after the February 8 elections.

Diplomatic sources said that two key visits including the visit of the Turkish president and Saudi crown prince are also on the cards.

The government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is hoping the flurry of these visits would give impetus to efforts seeking economic revival.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Dar on Saturday held a bilateral meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on the sidelines of the 15th OIC Islamic Summit Conference, in Banjul, The Gambia.

Noting the importance of the long-standing strategic and economic relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister and the Saudi foreign minister reaffirmed the resolve to further enhance economic cooperation and Saudi investments in Pakistan, read a statement issued by the foreign office.

The foreign minister lauded the “Vision 2030”, which aimed at the socio-economic transformation of the kingdom in the 21st century. He stated that the recently held visit of the Saudi foreign minister to Pakistan, who was leading a high-powered delegation, represented a new momentum in economic collaboration between Pakistan and the kingdom.
Dar and the Saudi foreign minister expressed deep concern over the recent developments in the Middle East and called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. They also noted the important role of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on issues concerning the Muslim Ummah including the situations in Palestine and Kashmir.


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