Iqbal engages in strategic talks with Chinese vice FM


ISLAMABAD:

Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, Prof Ahsan Iqbal, met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong on Wednesday to engage in extensive discussions aimed at further strengthening the “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership” between the two nations.

The talks encompassed a comprehensive review of the successful conclusion of the first decade of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the strides made in its second decade, particularly focusing on the five corridors of growth, livelihood, openness, inclusivity, and innovation, as delineated by Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng last year.

During the meeting, Iqbal was commended for his instrumental role in CPEC, with Weidong acknowledging his significant contributions by dubbing him “Mr CPEC”. He also praised Pakistan’s 5-E’s framework – Export, Energy, Equity, E-Pakistan, and Environment – devised by the Government of Pakistan to implement these five corridors under CPEC. Both parties also delved into the early execution of crucial infrastructure projects in Pakistan, including ML-I and KKH realignment.

Iqbal reiterated Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to the high-quality development of CPEC and outlined future cooperation under CPEC phase-II. Emphasis was placed on priority sectors such as IT, agricultural modernisation, textiles, minerals, and renewable energy.

He expressed gratitude to China for its unwavering support in making CPEC a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), highlighting its pivotal role in modernising Pakistan’s energy and logistics infrastructure.

Furthermore, Iqbal underscored the importance of bolstering Business-to-Business (B2B) links for the second phase of CPEC, advocating for streamlined visa issuance to Pakistani businessmen.

He highlighted the urgency of the ML-1 Peshawar-Karachi Railway mainline project and called for enhanced collaboration in Human Resource Development (HRD) through capacity building programmes and training opportunities, identifying it as a crucial area in the second phase of CPEC.

Also read: Pakistan, China deepen cooperation on CPEC Phase-2

Additionally, he briefed the Chinese side on the enhanced security measures implemented by the Government of Pakistan to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel.

In a bid to enhance people-to-people linkages, both parties agreed to facilitate visa issuance for each other’s citizens, recognising it as integral to strengthening B2B cooperation. The meeting concluded with a mutual commitment to sustain high-level exchanges between the two nations to foster the China-Pakistan Community of Shared Future in the New Era.

Iqbal’s visit to Beijing marks another milestone in the high-level interactions between China and Pakistan. Accompanied by Ambassador Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Foreign Affairs, Minister Ahsan engaged in several pivotal meetings, including those at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (SINOSURE), and China Development Bank (CDB). SAPM Tariq Fatemi and Ambassador Khalil Hashmi were also present during these meetings.

Additionally, Prof Iqbal convened with the leadership of Chinese financial institutions, including Sheng Hetai, President of China Export and Credit Insurance Corp. (SINOSURE), at SINOSURE’s Headquarters, to explore collaboration across various sectors, with a focus on the timely completion of hydropower projects such as Azad Pattan and Kohala. Both sides reiterated their commitment to achieving shared progress and prosperity.

Moreover, the planning minister met with Tan Jiong, President of China Development Bank (CDB), where he lauded the enduring friendship between China and Pakistan and acknowledged CDB’s pivotal role in the success of CPEC.

Discussions also centered on CDB’s support for development projects in Pakistan, particularly in infrastructure, renewable energy, and industrial sectors. President Tan reaffirmed the bank’s steadfast support for Pakistan’s socio-economic development efforts and was invited by Iqbal to visit Pakistan to witness the accomplishments of key CPEC projects firsthand.

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