The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor development project would prove to be a game changer in the region as it would generate massive trade and economic activity, opening new vistas of progress and prosperity for the people of the two countries, said President Mamnoon Hussain.
He said this during his one-on-one meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on day one of his first three-day state visit to China. The meeting was followed by delegation-level talks in the Great Hall of the Peoples in Beijing.
Giving details of the two rounds of talks, the president’s press secretary said that discussions between the two sides focused on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, enhancing connectivity and further cementing trade and investment ties.
Welcoming President Mamnoon, Chinese President Xi Jinping said choosing China for his first state visit abroad after assuming office demonstrated the depth of the time-tested friendship between the two countries.
He said that President Mamnoon’s visit marks yet another important step forward in reinforcing the strategic partnership between the two countries, adding that it would help open new avenues for bilateral cooperation in all fields. Reciprocating the gesture, President Mamnoon said the government and the people of Pakistan highly value their relations with China, which are unparalleled in the contemporary international relations. Friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy and there is an across-the-board political and public agreement on maintaining strong bilateral ties with China, he emphatically stated.
President Mamnoon said China was like his second home and he was pleased to be among “time-tested friends”.
Although the two presidents expressed satisfaction regarding the current status of bilateral ties, they urged the need for more consistent efforts to boost trade from the current $12 billion to a level commensurate to the huge trade and investment potential between the two countries.
Soon after the meeting, Pakistan and China inked five agreements of bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, regional connectivity, energy, and people-to-people contact.
Discussing the regional situation, President Mamnoon reiterated Pakistan’s interest in the stability and peace of the region. Pakistan believes that China is an important factor of peace and stability in the region, he added.
President Mamnoon invited his counterpart to visit Pakistan this year, who accepted the invitation.
Separately, in a meeting with Zhang Dejiang, the chairman of the Standing Committee of National Peoples’ Congress at the Great Hall, the President termed the two countries ‘iron brothers’.
He urged the need for frequent parliamentary exchanges between Pakistan and China.
Importance of study centres
President Mamnoon Hussain lauded Pakistan study centres in China for promoting trade and business ties between the two neighbours, besides transmitting “the glowing traditions of the time-tested friendship to the future generations of the two countries”.
He held a meeting with the heads of Pakistan study centres in China on Wednesday at the State Guesthouse in Beijing.
“The study centres should continue to engage in meaningful research, publish articles and hold seminars and exhibitions to highlight the geo-political significance and economic potential of Pakistan,” he stressed.
At the Great Wall
President Mamnoon Hussain visited the Great Wall of China during his trip.
The curator briefed the President about the historical significance and architecture of the Great wall, saying that so far 491 heads of states have visited the iconic structure. “I will always cherish the memories of visiting the Great Wall, the kind hospitality extended to me and my delegation by the Chinese hosts,” the president wrote his remarks in the visitors’ book.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2014.