Opening Session OF HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE PAKISTAN-CHINA AT 70: A UNIQUE BILATERAL PARTNERSHIP Islamabad: July 07, 2021
Statement of the Foreign Minister
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman Pakistan-China Institute,
Ambassador Nong Rong,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to participate in the opening session of today’s Conference.
This year is a historic year for the people of Pakistan and China. Our two countries are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations, and China is celebrating the 100th anniversary of founding of the Communist Party.
Pakistan and China are civilizational partners. Our historic ties date back to the ancient Silk Road, when traders, academics, and monks travelled through the modern-day Karakoram Highway and laid the foundation of our friendship.
Our seven-decade journey has been one of greater solidarity, deeper confidence, mutual trust, and mutual understanding. Our deep-rooted and iron-clad friendship has been nurtured by successive generations of leaders and people of both countries.
We support each other on our respective core issues. Pakistan has always upheld ‘One-China Policy’ and supported China on Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and South China Sea issues. China has stood by Pakistan in supporting our key strategic, economic and developmental priorities. While maintaining its principled and just stance, China supported Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
Collectively, we have rendered incredible sacrifices to preserve and promote our shared goals and common values, despite formidable challenges. Our “All-Weather Strategic Co-operative Partnership” has become an anchor for peace and stability in the region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Pakistan-China friendship is rooted deeply in the hearts and minds of the people of the two countries. We have the finest tradition of standing by each other through difficult times. In line with this tradition, our cooperation against COVID-19 pandemic remained exemplary.
After the outbreak of COVID-19, Pakistan immediately dispatched essential medical supplies to China for its fight against COVID-19. President Dr. Arif Alvi travelled to Beijing at the peak of the pandemic to express solidarity with China in its efforts to contain the pandemic.
In global fight against COVID-19, Pakistan supported China’s initiatives both at regional and global fora including President Xi’s declaration of making COVID-19 vaccine a ‘global public good.’
Similarly, China provided us over 60 planeloads of medical relief goods to contain the pandemic. A team of Chinese medical experts also visited Pakistan to share experience and strengthen our capacity to fight the pandemic.
Our cooperation on COVID-19 vaccine is also exemplary. China has provided us over three and a half million doses of vaccine as a gift. We are also procuring COVID-19 vaccine on commercial basis. National Institute of Health in Islamabad has started local production of PakVac vaccine with the help of China.
We are grateful for China’s generous assistance and support in combating the pandemic; first with prevention materials, medical expertise and equipment, and now with making vaccines available equitably to rich and poor countries alike.
The main focus of Pakistan has shifted from geopolitics to geo-economics. We seek to transform Pakistan into a progressive and an economically vibrant country through development partnerships, connectivity and regional peace.
As the flagship project of the BRI, CPEC complements our geo-economic priorities with emphasis on economic integration and regional connectivity.
In the first phase, CPEC has helped us in infrastructure development and address our essential energy needs for economic growth and development. In its second phase, our focus is on industrialization, agriculture cooperation, socio-economic development and job creation.
The tremendous progress made in CPEC projects signals the shared commitment of Pakistan and China. In a short span of time, we have completed 19 projects, 28 are under construction, while 41 are in the pipeline. Over the past seven years CPEC power projects have created more than 26,000 jobs. In addition, CPEC motorway projects have created over 50,000 jobs.
Despite COVID -19, CPEC has entered the new phase of high quality development. We will continue to firmly advance CPEC, ensuring timely completion of the projects under construction, and focus on economic and social development.
We have prioritized three Special Economic Zones in the second phase of CPEC. The ground-breaking of Rashakai SEZ was held on 28 May this year. We welcome businessmen and entrepreneurs from all countries to benefit from our investment friendly regime and reap economic dividends from these SEZs.
Pakistan offers pivotal geo-economic location, regional connectivity, a huge consumer market with and expanding middle class, and a large segment of skilled, vibrant, and youthful population to its valued investors.
Our future vision is to combine Infrastructure, Knowledge, Digital, Health and Green Corridors to make CPEC a “People’s Corridor of Prosperity and Progress”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
One of the most significant and promising aspects of our bilateral relations is the increasing people-to-people contacts. Currently, there are more than 30,000 Pakistani students benefiting from the advanced educational system of China.
We have established fourteen Sister-City and seven Sister-Provinces relations to further enhance our bilateral ties. Eleven Urdu Language Departments, seven Pakistan Study Centers in various Chinese Universities and five Confucius Institutes in Pakistan are imparting cultural understanding between the two countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The 70th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations is a very special occasion. This is the time to celebrate and renew our resolve to build upon the achievements of the last seven decades.
In order to celebrate this landmark year, our two countries have planned a series of activities throughout the year. This Conference aptly titled ‘Pakistan-China at 70: A Unique Bilateral Partnership’ is a part of the 70th Anniversary Celebrations.
I am sure I would echo the aspirations of every Pakistani when I say that we look forward to multifaceted and brotherly relations in future with China, which would not only serve the best interests of our two countries but would also ensure peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region and beyond.
I would be remiss if I do not commend the efforts of Pakistan-China Institute for organizing this well-arranged Conference and continued support to strengthen Pakistan-China friendship.
Live Long Pakistan-China Friendship!