One of China’s top military officials on Thursday heaped praise on Islamabad’s role in the fight against terror, including its efforts to eliminate Chinese separatists from Pakistan’s tribal regions.
The acknowledgement came from the vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, General Fan Changlong, during a meeting with army chief General Raheel Sharif at the GHQ in Rawalpindi.
Gen Fan is leading a high-powered delegation to Pakistan. He is also expected to travel to India. This is the first visit of a top Chinese general to Pakistan in 11 years and comes at a time when Islamabad and Beijing are looking to strengthen their long-term strategic partnership through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Gen Fan held in-depth discussions with Gen Raheel on a host of issues, including the regional security situation, bilateral defence cooperation and security of CPEC, security officials said. An Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said matters of mutual interest, regional security, steps for regional stability and enhanced bilateral defence collaboration came under discussion during the delegation-level talks. Gen Raheel said Pakistan and China’s relationship is “all weather and based on mutual trust and cooperation.”
“This relationship has survived the test of times and is only bound to grow,” he remarked. Highlighting defence and security cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing, Gen Fan said “China and Pakistan are the best iron brothers, good friends and strategic partners.”
“We share the tradition of mutual understanding, mutual trust and mutual support. China deeply appreciates the determination of Pakistan Army in counter terrorism and the successful operation in various fields. China values the efforts of Pakistan Army in fighting East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM),” he added.
Gen Fan said CPEC was equally beneficial to both China and Pakistan, adding both sides were committed to its continuous process and future success. “We look forward to close cooperation with the Pakistani side to ensure proper management and security of CPEC.” Gen Fan appreciated, in particular, the role played by Gen Raheel in realising CPEC and strengthening the relationship between China and Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2015.