Yao Jing - Former Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan: China-Pakistan relationship is always in my heart
By Staff Reporter | China Economic Net Jun 15, 2021
XINJIANG, Jun.15 (China Economic Net) - “I have been to Pakistan as an officer of Chinese Embassy in Pakistan for three times. I have been eating Pakistan’s food and drinking Pakistan’s water for 11 years. I think I am a practitioner, a participant and a witness for China-Pakistan relationship and friendship.”said Yao Jing, former Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Over the past 20 years, he has experienced rapid development of China-Pakistan relations. The economic and trade exchanges between the two countries have gradually expanded. Personnel exchanges have been continuously deepened. The joint construction of the “Belt and Road Initiative” has been intensified and the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has achieved remarkable results. Moreover, China-Pakistan community of common destiny will become closer in the new era. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Yao Jing interviewd China Economic Net. He disclosed his many years of memory, counting the past and looking forward to the future. His original aspirations for China-Pakistan friendship remain unchanged.
Yao Jing, former Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, interviewing China Economic Net (Photographer Zhang Peng)
Pakistani giving a hand when Chinese in trouble
In 1994, as an attaché to the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, 25-year-old Yao took an international flight from Beijing to Islamabad.“At that time, I just started my diplomatic career and i was m first trip abroad, I felt particularly impressed that before I arrived in Pakistan, I could feel the special feelings of Pakistani people towards China.” The flight attendant of Pakistan Airlines introduced the customs of the two countries all the way on the flight. When it passed over the main peak of the Kunlun Mountains, the flight attendant proudly said:“This is K2! It is the border between China and Pakistan.”Yao had a very good impression on his first trip to Pakistan.“They are familiar with China's famous places even the mountains and rivers, and I can deeply feel the Pakistanis' understanding of China and their friendship with China.”
During the first 5 years in Pakistan, Yao has close ties with local people. Once, Yao and his colleagues rented a car from Islamabad to Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city. Unfortunately, the tire burst on the way and the trip was forced to stop. Lahore’s summer is particularly hot, with daytime temperatures reaching 40 to 50 degree Celsius. When they were stuck on the road, they didn't know how to find the trailer, and they wouldn't change the tire. The embassy staff was helpless standing on the side of the road.“At that time, a few Pakistanis walked by, asked about the situation, and helped us put on the spare tire without saying anything.”Yao said:“As long as the Chinese face difficulties in Pakistan, the local people will step forward to give a hand, as if it were their own issue.”
Disaster enhancing the “iron brotherhood”friendship between China and Pakistan
From 2007 to 2010, Yao embarked on his second trip to Pakistan. As the Chinese Political Counselor in Pakistan during this period, his work has changed and the relationship between the two countries has also taken a step forward.
“In 2005, a major earthquake occurred in Pakistan's northwest border, and China did its utmost to help. We are the first batch of countries to provide aid to Pakistan, and all the relief materials are delivered directly to Pakistan from China through special planes.”According to Yao's recollection, China's sincerity has been affirmed by the Pakistani people. When Wenchuan earthquake occurred in 2008, Pakistan also offered their best to support. Pakistan has allocated national reserve funds to urgently transport 22,260 tents from the country’s war-ready inventory to China’s disaster area.
Until 2017 to 2020, covid-19 outbreak during Yao’s third stay as the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan. Pakistan responded immediately and urgently mobilized 300,000 medical masks, 800 sets of medical protective clothing and 6,800 pairs of gloves from the national public hospital inventory to support China.For Pakistan, these aids were its entire stockpile at the time. Pakistani President Arif Alvi said: "We use national anti-epidemic materials to support China,we didn’t worry what will happen in the future.Because a friend is suffering, so we sent everything to China."
China and Pakistan shared weal and woe, and sincerely helped each other. As the epidemic spread in Pakistan later, China launched comprehensive assistance to Pakistan.“Facing such a severe challenge, I feel that China-Pakistan relations have gained more support from the Pakistani people.”Yao said the disaster enhancing the “iron brotherhood”friendship between the two countries.
Consolidation and expansion China-Pakistan economic development truly benefits both people's livelihoods
From Yao's first stay in Pakistan in 1994 to the end of 2020, he officially leaving the office as the ambassador to Pakistan, these two decades have coincided with the rapid development of China-Pakistan economic and trade relations.
Pakistan responded actively after the “Belt and Road Initiative”was proposed in 2013.In 2015, China-Pakistan relations upgraded from a strategic partnership to All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership, led by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and focused on Gwadar Port, energy, transportation infrastructure and industrial cooperation. The two countries formed a "1+4" layout of economic cooperation. On April 20th, 2015, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project was officially launched, becoming a key part of the practical cooperation between the two countries to create a "community of common destiny".
Since then, the corridor has gradually become the first pilot area, demonstration area, and innovation area of the “Belt and Road Initiative”. Especially under the influence of the pandemic, the corridor construction has made a series of significant progress in overcoming the impact of the rising trend.
I think it is a stage of consolidation and expansion, a stage where the economic development of China and Pakistan will truly benefit the lives of the two peoples from 2017 to 2020.Yao has always maintained a high degree of attention to the construction of the corridor. “I believe that Pakistan’s support and participation in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, from the top leaders to the various government departments, are increasing unabated.”Yao said. That's because the design of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and its actual role are completely motivated by Pakistan's own economic needs and completely motivated by the need to improve the people's livelihood in Pakistan.
In recognition of Yao's contribution to the development of Pakistan-China relations during his tenure, Pakistan awarded Yao Jing the highest civilian medal-"Hilal-e-Pakistan" when he left office.
Pakistan benefits from the stability and development of Xinjiang
Yao Jing, who has left from Pakistan for half a year, sits in the office of the People's Government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and contributes to China-Pakistan friendship in another way.
In order to speed up the construction of the core area of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Party Committee and government have put forward a series of proposals, placing the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in a more important position and continuously promoting the development of economic and trade exchanges with Pakistan in a broader space.“Xinjiang borders Pakistan.They are closely connected to each other both in history and in the present, in terms of culture and in economy and trade.”
In the process of constructing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, almost all the personnel, materials and equipments are transferred to Pakistan through Xinjiang. Many large enterprises directly build production bases in Xinjiang. Xinjiang plays an important role as the outset of the corridor, “Xinjiang should take advantage of its borders and accelerate the promotion of high-quality development under the premise of ensuring epidemic prevention. Especially in the case of the epidemic, the autonomous region government began to make every effort to ensure the customs clearance of goods since February this year.Xinjiang's geographic advantages can also build a trade bridge between Pakistan and Central Asia. Highways are already very developed, and Xinjiang should be promoted to become a link between Pakistan and other countries in the future.”Yao said:“The economy and development of Central Asia are highly complementary. China provides Pakistan with this channel, which provides a good platform for Pakistan to expand its foreign economic and trade ties and expand its foreign relations. Pakistan can benefit from Xinjiang’s stability and development. Xinjiang can also benefit from China-Pakistan economic and trade cooperation and the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. So this is a win-win and mutually beneficial result.”
From attaché to ambassador, from Islamabad to Urumqi, Yao's life track has been inseparable from the development of China-Pakistan relations. He said emotionally at the end of the interview，“China-Pakistan friendship is always in my heart. I have the special memories for the friendly relations between China and Pakistan.”