BEIJING: Pakistan will help China with its fight against extremists which Beijing says are active in its unruly far western region of Xinjiang, the country’s prime minister said on Saturday during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
China, Pakistan’s only major ally in the region, has long urged Islamabad to weed out what it says are militants from Xinjiang, who are holed up in a lawless tribal belt, home to a lethal mix of militant groups, including the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Pakistan Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif told Xi that his country would “continue to resolutely fight the East Turkestan Islamic Movement terrorist forces”, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement following the meeting in Beijing.
Pakistan will increase its coordination with China on Afghanistan too, so as to “jointly maintain regional peace and stability”, Sharif said.
Pakistan will also do all it can to guarantee the safety of Chinese companies and workers in the country, he added, who have in the past been attacked by militants.
Pakistan and China signed 19 agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) of bilateral cooperation in a meeting held today in the Chinese capital, according to Radio Pakistan.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on his three-day visit to discuss bilateral relations and the regional situation in Beijing.
The visit is aimed at attracting an investment of over $46 billion and is being held with special significance. It is said to be an apparent effort to control the damage posed to the country’s economy by the protests in Islamabad.
With China’s help, over 21 projects are to be completed. The estimated cost of 16,520MW power generation is around $33 billion and would bring substantial improvement in all sectors of economy after completion.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, federal ministers Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal, and Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi were also present at the meeting.
Addressing the media following the meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz said his government had made up for losses despite the damage caused due to the recent political turmoil in the country.
“Despite the damage done in the past two months due to political turmoil, we will make up for the loss come what may,” he was quoted as saying.
The agreements were signed to help promote cooperation between the two countries in fields of energy, infrastructure under the Economic Corridor Project and other sectors.
These include agreements on solar power production at Quaid-e Azam Solar Park, easy loan for laying optic fibre between the two countries, mining of 65,00,000 metric tons of coal in Block-2 of Thar, 870 MW Suki Kinari Hydropower project, 1320 MW coal power project in Sahiwal, and an MoU for 100 MW Jhimpir wind power project.
“These projects will be a source of employment for over a million youth of Pakistan. Pak-China cooperation will also create business opportunities for local and international investors,” the premier said.
An agreement was also signed to establish an Industrial Park in Faisalabad, and promote economic and technical cooperation.
Alongside these agreements, Prime Minister Nawaz will also represent Pakistan at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Summit, in which leaders of Myanmar, Laos, Mongolia, Cambodia, Tajikistan and Bangladesh are also participating.