Beijing, April 27 (TNS): Prime Minister Imran Khan says Pakistan is proud to have partnered and pioneered with China in the Belt and Road and CPEC initiatives.
Addressing the opening ceremony of Second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Friday, the Prime Minister said Pakistan has been among BRI’s earliest and most enthusiastic proponents.
He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, one of BRI’s major components and one of its earliest manifestations, has made substantial progress. Pakistan’s energy supplies have increased massively and our critical infrastructure gaps are being plugged.
Imran Khan said Gwadar, once a small fishing village is transforming rapidly into a commercial hub and its airport will be the largest in the country.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan and China are now entering the next phase of CPEC, with greater emphasis on socioeconomic uplift, poverty alleviation, agricultural cooperation and industrial development.
He said we are expanding the frontiers of knowledge through closer engagement and deeper cooperation in the fields of education, innovation and technology.
The Prime Minister said along the length of the Corridor, Special Economic Zones are set to come up, offering opportunities for investments for Pakistani, Chinese and foreign entrepreneurs. He said supplementing the next phase of CPEC, Pakistan is signing an expanded Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement.
The Prime Minister invited the participants to avail the liberal foreign investment regime offered by Pakistan and participate in the country’s economy, in particular infrastructure, railways, dams, IT and manufacturing.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said we are changing Pakistan’s economic landscape and the destiny of our people.
He thanked China and its leadership for their unwavering support for Pakistan. The Prime Minister said our deep-rooted friendship, partnership and brotherhood with China remains strong, resilient and unbreakable, standing tall in the face of every challenge.
Drawing the attention of forum participants towards joint efforts to mitigate climate change, the Prime Minister said we successfully planted a billion trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.
The Prime Minister suggested that to launch a joint project to plant 100 billion trees in the next two years, so that we can mitigate the effects of climate change for our coming generations.
The Prime Minister also gave the proposal of establishing a BRI Tourism Corridor to promote people-to-people contacts and inter-cultural understanding.
To combat the scourge of white-collar crime, Imran Khan called for establishing an office of Anti-Corruption Cooperation.
He said a Poverty Alleviation Fund that supplements national efforts in the fight against poverty and malnourishment is also need of the hour. He gave the example of Pakistan, where the government has recently launched a targeted poverty alleviation programme called Ehsas, or feeling. The aim should be to emulate China’s spectacular success in lifting 800 million people out of poverty within a matter of decades.
The Prime Minister also urged the need for making concerted efforts to further liberalize trade and investment flows encouraging our private sector and businesses to collaborate in projects.
He said Pakistan will partner with all those who share the vision for a peaceful and prosperous world.
Speaking at a luncheon hosted by China-Pakistan Friendship Association and International Cultural Communication Centre in Beijing, Prime Minister Imran Khan emphatically stated that Pakistani nation and government fully support multi-billion dollars China Pakistan Economic Corridor project.
Referring to the achievements made by China in poverty alleviation and the science and technology, he said Pakistan also seek Chinese cooperation in these two areas to move forward.
The Prime Minister said CPEC, being a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, has proved to be a blessing for Pakistan as it gave the country an opportunity to catch up with other nations.
He said Pakistan is supporting peaceful settlement of the Afghan conflict through dialogue amongst all the stakeholders.
About relations with India, he hoped India will come to the negotiations table after the general elections.
In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that high-quality, and sustainable infrastructure should be constructed under the Belt and Road Initiative.
He said building infrastructure with such standards could help countries give full play to their advantages in resources and better integrate into the global supply, industry and value chains for interconnected development.
President Xi said China would continuously open up its market and welcome quality products from around the world besides further lowering the tariff rate.
He said China will negotiate and sign high-standard free trade agreements with more countries.
PM attends dinner at Great Hall of the People in Beijing
Prime Minister Imran Khan attended a dinner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping.