Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 2, 2022. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan on his official visit to China at the Great Hall of the People on Wednesday.
Xi welcomed Sharif and thanked him for his congratulatory letter right after the opening of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Noting that China and Pakistan are good friends, good partners and good brothers, Xi said amid global changes and instability in recent years, the two countries have supported each other and forged ahead, demonstrating an ironclad friendship.
"China views its relations with Pakistan from a strategic and long-term perspective, and Pakistan has always been a high priority in China's neighborhood diplomacy," Xi said.
China is ready to work with Pakistan to elevate the level of all-round strategic cooperation, speed up efforts to build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era, and inject new impetus into their all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, according to Xi.
Xi stressed that China commends Pakistan's firm commitment to advancing friendship and cooperation with China, and expressed appreciation for Pakistan's support on issues vital to China's core and major concerns.
China will continue to firmly support Pakistan in safeguarding its sovereignty, territorial integrity, development interests and dignity, and in achieving unity, stability, development and prosperity, the Chinese president said.
"China expressed deep sympathies to the Pakistani people over the devastating floods that have hit the country, and will provide additional emergency relief to help with post-flood reconstruction," Xi said, adding that China supports Pakistan's efforts to revive agricultural production, and will strengthen cooperation with Pakistan on disaster prevention and relief and climate change.
After presenting the key outcomes of the 20th CPC National Congress, Xi underscored that China will continue its fundamental policy of opening-up and provide new opportunities to Pakistan and the rest of the world through continuous development.
Xi said China will further deepen synergy between its development strategies and those of Pakistan, calling on the two sides to make full use of the Joint Cooperation Committee of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), advance CPEC with greater efficiency, and make CPEC an exemplar of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
It is important to accelerate the construction of auxiliary infrastructure for Gwadar Port to unleash its role in driving interconnected development in the region, Xi said, hoping the two sides will work together to create conditions for the early implementation of the upgradation of the Main Line-1 (ML-1) and the Karachi Circular Railway project.
"Pakistan is welcome to export more quality agri-products to China," Xi said, adding that China will work with Pakistan to expand cooperation in digital economy, e-commerce, and photovoltaic and other new-energy technologies, and take solid steps to advance cooperation concerning agriculture, science, technology and people's livelihood.
He said China will continue to do its best to support Pakistan in stabilizing its financial situation. China supports its provinces with a strong industry in pairing up with Pakistani partners to advance industrial cooperation, and hopes the Pakistani side will provide a sound business environment.
Xi expressed his great concern about the safety of Chinese nationals in Pakistan, and conveyed his hope that Pakistan will provide a reliable and safe environment for Chinese institutions and personnel working on cooperation projects there.
Xi pointed out that the world, our times and history are changing in ways like never before. Facing a highly uncertain world, both sides should stand on the right side of history, keep up their strong cooperation in multilateral mechanisms, and work closely on major international and regional issues so as to uphold true multilateralism, international fairness and justice and the shared interests of developing countries, and inject certainty and positives into the world.
China will work with Pakistan to advance the operationalization of the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, make the global economic governance system fairer, more equitable, inclusive and mutually beneficial, and build a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi said.
These collaborative efforts will provide a strong underpinning for the development of the two countries, and contribute more to global peace, stability and prosperity, Xi said.
Sharif noted that it is a great honor for him to be among the first foreign leaders to visit China after the successful 20th CPC National Congress, which marked a new milestone. He said the visit is a testament to the profound ironclad friendship between Pakistan and China.
On behalf of the Pakistani government and people, Sharif once again expressed hearty congratulations to President Xi on his re-election as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. He said that over the past decade, under the dynamic leadership of President Xi, China has created a miracle of great development achievements.
He said China has upheld multilateralism, promoted global solidarity and cooperation, and made important contributions to safeguarding world peace and development. In doing so, China has lived up to its responsibility as a major country.
The world cannot operate without China, and China's development cannot be isolated or contained by any force, Sharif said, expressing his confidence that President Xi, with his extraordinary vision, will continue to lead China toward even more remarkable achievements and create an even brighter future for the world.
Sharif stressed that deepening Pakistan's all-weather strategic cooperative partnership with China is a cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy and the national consensus of Pakistan. He expressed heartfelt appreciation to the Chinese government and people for the valuable anti-COVID support, and for the generous assistance in the wake of the devastating floods. No country has ever helped Pakistan or other developing countries with such wholehearted sincerity, he said.
Sharif reiterated Pakistan's firm commitment to the one-China policy and its firm support for China's position on issues concerning China's core interests including Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong. He said even as Pakistan learns from China's successful experience and tries to rely on its own efforts, Pakistan will deepen all-round cooperation with China to better develop itself. He said this is the only way forward for Pakistan.
Hailing CPEC's profound impact on Pakistan's economic and social development, the prime minister said Pakistan is ready to work with China to continue promoting high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and hopes to have China's strong support in the upgradation of ML-1, the Karachi Circular Railway and other important infrastructure projects.
Sharif said Pakistan will further step up security measures and do all it can to protect the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel.
Sharif said Pakistan fully supports the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative put forth by President Xi, and it will strengthen communication and collaboration with China in international and regional affairs to make a positive contribution to world peace and development.
The Pakistan-China friendship is unbreakable, and Pakistan will always stand firmly with China, Sharif said.
After the meeting, Xi held a welcoming banquet for Sharif at the Golden Hall of the Great Hall of the People.
Wang Yi and He Lifeng were present at the events.