PM to Discuss CPEC in Maiden Visit to China today

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said that he will discuss the revitalisation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in his talks with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang during his two-day official visit to China.

The premier left for Beijing today and is among the first few leaders to visit the neighbouring country following the historic 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) that elected Xi Jinping as general secretary of the party.

This will be the prime minister’s first visit to China since assuming office in April 2022 and follows his meeting with President Xi in Uzbekistan last month.

Earlier, Shehbaz appreciated this “honour” as well as the continued friendship and partnership between Pakistan and China during challenging times.The premier said that his discussions with the Chinese leadership will be centred on the “revitalisation of CPEC” among other important topics.

The second phase of CPEC, tweeted Shehbaz, “promises to usher in a new era of socio-economic progress that will uplift the quality of our people’s lives.”

He added that Pakistan can learn a lot from the “Chinese economic miracle”.

Earlier, addressing the first steering committee meeting of the Pakistan-China Business and Investment Forum (PCBIF), PM Shehbaz said he looked forward to meeting the Chinese leadership for a series of “productive and fruitful meetings” aimed at boosting business, strategic and people-to-people relations.

He stressed that Pakistan strongly needed to emulate the Chinese model of development for its sustainable progress and prosperity and emphasised the importance of creating favourable environment for building a business-to-business relationship.

“Let’s join hands and move forward to create a win-win situation for the Chinese and Pakistani businessmen and investors,” he said, calling for streamlining the business procedures in Pakistan to benefit from China.

The prime minister termed CPEC as a “game-changer” and recalled how the flagship programme of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) resulted in helping Pakistan overcome its massive power outages.

He stressed the relocation of the labour-intensive Chinese industry to Pakistan in view of the cheap local labour by establishing Special Economic Zones, calling it a win-win scenario for the business houses of both countries.

He lauded the efforts of Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong for his immense contribution towards strengthening Pakistan-China relations in diverse fields.

Additionally, Shehbaz met Chinese ambassador Nong and discussed diverse matters with him before the China visit, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The Prime Minister’s Office also said that a high-level delegation would accompany the prime minister on the China visit. “During his stay, the prime minister will meet President Xi Jinping and hold delegation-level talks with Premier Li Keqiang,” it said.

“The visit is also expected to advance the wide-ranging bilateral cooperation agenda with the conclusion of a number of MoUs/agreements in diverse areas, and consolidate the momentum of CPEC cooperation in the wake of the 11th meeting of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on October 27, 2022,” the statement added.

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