Paris, 23 June 2023 (TDI): Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan and Premier Li Qiang of the State Council of China had a significant meeting today on the sidelines of the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact in Paris.
This marked their first in-person encounter since Premier Li assumed office in March this year, emphasizing the importance of their discussion.
Discussion on Bilateral Relationship and CPEC
The meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Premier Li Qiang reflected the enduring Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership.
The two leaders engaged in a conversation covering various aspects of the bilateral relationship, with a particular focus on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and bilateral economic cooperation.
Supporting China on Core Issues
Prime Minister Sharif reiterated Pakistan’s unwavering support for China on its core issues, acknowledging China’s steadfast commitment to Pakistan’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and socio-economic development.
The Prime Minister commended China’s principled stance in opposing any G20 meeting in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir, citing it as a clear demonstration of China’s adherence to international law and UN resolutions.
China’s Unique Friendship with Pakistan
Premier Li emphasized the exceptional and enduring friendship between China and Pakistan, which has stood the test of time due to deep fraternal ties between the two nations’ peoples.
He further stated that Pakistan holds a special position in China’s neighborhood diplomacy as a close neighbor and “iron brother.” Premier Li assured Pakistan of China’s continuous efforts to safeguard its core interests and contribute to the economic development and prosperity of the Pakistani people.
Commitment to CPEC and Decade of CPEC
Expressing satisfaction with the steady progress of CPEC projects in Pakistan, both leaders reaffirmed the centrality of CPEC for Pakistan’s socio-economic development.
They expressed their firm commitment to ongoing collaboration in order to achieve shared objectives. Furthermore, they agreed to commemorate the Decade of CPEC this year to celebrate the achievements and success of this vital initiative.
Future Exchanges and Invitations
Prime Minister Sharif and Premier Li agreed to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges between Pakistan and China. In a friendly gesture, Prime Minister Sharif extended an invitation to the Chinese Premier to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience, which was graciously accepted.
The meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Paris showcased the enduring and special bond between Pakistan and China. The discussions on bilateral relations, CPEC, and future collaborations indicate the commitment of both nations to further strengthen their strategic partnership. The invitation for Premier Li’s visit to Pakistan reflects the mutual desire to enhance cooperation and advance shared goals for the benefit of both countries.