Islamabad, 29 June 2022 (TDI): Yang Jiechi, Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Director of its Foreign Affairs Commission, called on Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif.

At the head of a high-level delegation, Director Yang is on a two-day visit to Pakistan from 29th to 30th June. Syed Tariq Fatemi and Zafaruddin Mahmood, Special Assistants to the Prime Minister, and Ambassador Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, Additional Secretary, and other officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the dignitary on arrival.

Director Yang Jiechi is accompanied by Vice Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Commerce, Vice Chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), and Deputy Secretary General of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Prime Minister of Pak with Chinese Diplomat
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, welcomes member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee and the Director of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC, Yang Jiechi

Extending a warm welcome to Director Yang, the Prime Minister conveyed the most cordial greetings and best wishes to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

Significance of the Director’s visit

The Prime Minister noted that Director Yang’s visit marked the continuation of high-level exchanges between Pakistan and China, which are the hallmark of the time-tested All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the two countries.

The Prime Minister recalled his extensive conversation with Premier Li Keqiang in May 2022, during which both leaders had reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and exchanged views on the regional and international situation.

He also underscored the significance of Director Yang’s visit for accelerating the implementation of the leaders’ consensus on further enhancing bilateral relations across all domains.

Pakistan-China Economic Ties

Furthermore, the Prime Minister highlighted that economic cooperation had become a mainstay of the wide-ranging Pakistan-China partnership.

Subsequently, he expressed satisfaction at growing bilateral trade and financial linkages, with China’s unstinting support playing an invaluable role in helping Pakistan offset external shocks to the global economy and demonstrating the continued resilience of Pakistan-China cooperation at a time of heightened uncertainty in the world stage. Most importantly, the Prime Minister thanked China for the renewal of the RMB 15 billion ($2.3 billion) syndicate facility.

The Prime Minister also thanked China for its support and assistance to Pakistan’s efforts towards preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing millions of vaccine doses as well as protective and medical equipment.

Moreover, he underlined that as a flagship of the visionary Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), CPEC had transformed Pakistan’s economic base and strengthened its capacity for self-development.

On CPEC projects

He reaffirmed the Government’s resolve to accelerate the pace and complete CPEC projects at the earliest. Accordingly, he emphasized the high importance Pakistan attached to the strategic ML-I and other key projects including Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), Babusar Tunnel, and desalinization plant in Karachi.

In addition, the Prime Minister said Pakistan stood ready to work closely with China for realizing both countries’ shared vision of connectivity, prosperity, and public well-being. Pakistan would also continue to support Chinese investors with competitive incentives, access to high-quality infrastructure, and unwavering security arrangements.

CPEC and growing economic linkages had deepened the roots of the abiding friendship between the peoples of both countries, he noted. Atop this unshakeable foundation, the Pakistan-China partnership would continue to play its valuable role as a factor of peace and stability in the region and beyond.

On defense relations and condemnation of the Karachi attack

The Prime Minister reiterated his strong condemnation of the Karachi terrorist attack and underscored Pakistan’s determination to bring the perpetrators to justice.

He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to enhanced measures for safety, security, and protection of the Chinese nationals, projects, and institutions in the country.

Recalling the recent visit of the tri-services delegation to China led by the Chief of Army Staff, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction at the expanding defense and security cooperation between Pakistan and China which was contributing to regional peace and stability.

Return of Pakistani students and resumption of flights

While emphasizing the need for enhanced people-to-people contacts, he thanked China for facilitating the return of Pakistani students to resume their on-campus studies and expressed hope that the remaining students would be able to return soon.

The Prime Minister also appreciated the Chinese decision to resume the PIA flights to China and increase the frequency of weekly flights.

On the situation in IIOJK and Afghanistan

Exchanging views on international issues of mutual interest, the Prime Minister highlighted the adverse impact of India’s unabated repression and gross violations of human rights in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The Prime Minister thanked China for its principled stance and steadfast support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The Prime Minister and Director Yang also exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan including the humanitarian and economic crises. The need for international cooperation and unfreezing of assets to avert humanitarian catastrophe and ease the misery of the Afghan people was underscored.

Following the meeting, the Prime Minister hosted a banquet in honor of Director Yang and his accompanying delegation.

Protocols and MoUs

During the visit, the two sides concluded the following Protocols/MoUs:

  •  MoU on terms of reference/scope of works of G2G joint technical working group for realignment of Karakoram Highway from Thakot to Raikot.
  • Protocol on the sanitary and phytosanitary requirements for Rhodes Grass exported from Pakistan to China.
  • Protocol on Quarantine and Health Requirements for Buffalo Embryos to be exported from Pakistan to China.
  • Acceptance Letter of 3000 sets of the solar home system.

The Chinese side announced the roll-over of $2 billion SAFE deposits.

It was also conveyed that China would export 200,000 MT of urea fertilizer to Pakistan.

Reiterating a cordial invitation to President Xi Jinping, the Prime Minister stated that the people of Pakistan were looking forward to welcoming President Xi on his next state visit to Pakistan at the earliest.

The visiting dignitary also held delegation-level talks with Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.