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Belt and Road Initiative can lift 32m out of poverty: World Bank

WASHINGTON: China’s massive Belt and Road infrastructure drive could speed up economic development and reduce poverty for dozens of developing countries, the World Bank said on Tuesday in a new report that called for deep policy reforms and more transparency for the initiative.

The long-delayed report said that the Belt and Road — a string of ports, railways, roads and bridges and other investments connecting China to Europe via central and southern Asia — could lift 32 million people out of moderate poverty conditions if implemented fully.

Still, there are “significant risks,” the World Bank said.

“Achieving the ambitions of the Belt and Road Initiative will require equally ambitious reforms from participating countries,” World Bank Vice President for Equitable Growth Ceyla Pazarbasioglu said in a statement.

Improvements in data reporting and transparency — especially around debt — open government procurement, and adherence to the highest social and environmental standards will help significantly,” she added.

World Bank President David Malpass skipped China’s second Belt and Road summit in Beijing in April to take his first foreign trip to Africa instead. Malpass was a critic of Belt and Road when he was an official at the US Department of the Treasury, arguing that it was saddling some countries with unsustainable debts.

The report found that for some countries, the costs of new infrastructure could outweigh potential economic gains and the benefits would be unevenly distributed among participating countries.

Real income gains in the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, and Thailand could be above eight per cent, but Azerbaijan, Mongolia and Tajikistan could experience negative welfare gains due to high infrastructure costs, the analysis showed.

The World Bank said real income for Belt and Road corridor economies could be two to four times larger if they ease trade restrictions and institute reforms to reduce border delays.

Increased private-sector participation in Belt and Road, now dominated by China’s state-owned banks and enterprises, can help sustain the initiative in the long run, but participating countries would need to institute reforms to improve their investment climates, including stronger legal protections and regulations, the report said.

“Little is known about the processes for selecting firms” for Belt and Road projects, the report said. “Moving toward international good practices such as open and transparent public procurement would increase the likelihood that BRI projects are allocated to the firms best placed to implement them.”

There was also a need to increase transparency of debt terms and conditions for Belt and Road projects to allow governments to assess the risks to their ability to sustain debt, the report said.

Source: Dawn

Date: 20/6/2019

Pakistan welcomes British investment in CPEC

ISLAMABAD-Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan welcomes British investment in China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.

Speaking at the CPEC forum here, the minister said during his recent visit to the United Kingdom, he had talked about CPEC with his British counterpart Jeremy Hunt.

This week, Pakistan and the UK had reaffirmed commitment to take bilateral relationship forward and work for shared prosperity. The commitment was made at fourth review of Pakistan-UK Enhanced Strategic Dialogue in London. Foreign Minister Qureshi led the Pakistani side while the British delegation was headed by their Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The two sides agreed to continue building upon the cooperation within the framework of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue to take this partnership forward. They agreed to work together to facilitate business to business contacts, explore niche areas for investment, improve the business climate and raise awareness about market opportunities in Pakistan.

The British Foreign Secretary announced the UK Department for International Trade’s decision to double the available support for exports to Pakistan from up to 400 million pounds to one billion pounds as part of the growing cooperation in economic terms between the two countries.

Qureshi said new partnerships were emerging in the region and in this context Pakistan was interested in the investment of other countries in CPEC too. He said all the CPEC projects and initiatives will be completed on time. He said CPEC was a flagship project of Road and Belt Initiative which was a sprawling concept of trade and connectivity.

He said think tanks of both countries were working for the success of CPEC. The Foreign Minister said first phase of CPEC focused on infrastructure development and energy generation while in second phase industrial cooperation and socio economic development are our highest priorities.

Qureshi said: “We have set up special economic zones that will help meet these objectives. Cooperation in agriculture between the two countries is increasing at a fast pace.”

He said leadership on both sides was clear that CPEC was a game changer and holds immense opportunities for the benefit of people.

He said CPEC will benefit all marginalized areas of Pakistan, especially Balochistan. He said Chinese projects were commercial and public-oriented.

The minister said cooperation in science and technology with China was also important. He said CPEC was the beginning of a new dawn that will usher in a new era of progress and prosperity. Qureshi said people to people contacts between Pakistan and China were increasing due to CPEC. He said the world was now looking towards East, including Pakistan.

Meanwhile, in his message on the World Refugee Day, Qureshi said Pakistan was committed to solidarity and support for the refugees across the globe. “Pakistan is proud of its historic role and contribution in shaping the normative and legal regime for the protection of refugees. From the Burmese refugees in the 70s, and Bosnian refugees in early 90s, Pakistan has always a generous host to people seeking safety, shelter, and protection, irrespective of ethnicity, creed or religion,” he said.

The year 2019, he said, marked 40 years of presence of millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. “By opening our home and hearts, the people of Pakistan have demonstrated exemplary hospitality towards their Afghan sisters and brothers,” he added. Pakistan’s resources, the FM said, “may have been modest, yet we have always endeavoured to uphold the values of compassion, generosity and hospitality.”

Qureshi added: “These values find expression in the opportunities provided by Pakistan social mobility, employment, access to health and education for Afghan and other refugees. The decision announced by the Government to allow registered Afghan refugees to open bank accounts in Pakistan is another reflection of these values.”

Pakistan, he said, commends the work of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the face of growing refugees, dwindling resources and rising intolerance against refugees. “On this important occasion, Pakistan reaffirms faithful adherence by all to the principle of international responsibility and burden sharing when it come to protecting the refugees,” the FM said.

Even as the UNHCR and hosting countries provide protection and support, these measures are no substitutes for scaling up efforts to prevent conflicts from erupting, help resolve long-standing disputes, create conducive conditions in the countries of origin and assist in accelerating voluntary, safe and dignified return of refugees to their homes, Qureshi said.

Source: The Nation

Date: 22/6/2019

PM for further coordination with China in second phase of CPEC

Minister Imran Khan Thursday said that the efforts are being made to further streamline and improve coordination with China at all levels, especially when the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project has entered its second phase.

In a meeting with Zhao Baige, vice chair of the 12th NPC Foreign Affairs Committee, chair of the Advisory Committee of Belt & Road Initiative International Think Tank of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who called on him at the PM Office, the prime minister said in its second phase, the critical areas such as agriculture and socio-economic development have also been included in the CPEC, said a PM Office statement. Zhao, also the Chair of Advisory Committee of CASS-RDI, was accompanied by Fang Cal, vice chairman and member of the Party Leadership Group of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, chairman of China Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd, Bao Zhong Zhang, chairman Huangshan Duowei Biology Co Ltd, Guang Hui Chen, chairman Wuhan Landing Medical Hi-Tech Co Ltd, Xiao Rong Sun, president Chenjiancheng TVSKY, Jiancheng Chen, chairman Pakistan Chinese Enterprises Services Co Ltd, Zi Hai Wang and Director RDI Secretariat Wen Qing Xu.

The prime minister welcomed the delegation and said that it is a matter of great satisfaction to note that all-weather and time-tested Pakistan-China friendship is transforming into a robust economic partnership. He added that Pakistan wants to learn from Chinese experience and expertise in different sectors. He said a special cell is being established at the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure seamless coordination between businesses of public and private sectors. Zhao, in her remarks, said that China will continue extending all possible cooperation to Pakistan in areas such as agriculture, health, housing, and socio-economic development.
Source: Daily Times
Date: 21/6/2019
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Close Pakistan-China cooperation a factor of peace, stability in region: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday underlined that close Pakistan-China cooperation was a factor of peace and stability in the region and expressed appreciation for China’s support for Pakistan’s role on international and regional issues.

The prime minister also underlined the importance of mutual support by China and Pakistan to each other on their respective issues of core interest.

He said this while talking to General Han Weiguo, Commander, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Ground Forces, China, who called on him here at the Prime Minister Office. The prime minister congratulated General Han Weiguo on the conferment of the Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military).

The prime minister recalled his wide-ranging exchange of views with President Xi Jinping in their two recent meetings in Beijing in April 2019 and Bishkek this month. He underscored that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a flagship project of President Xi’s visionary Belt and Road Initiative and added Pakistan looked forward to also deepening cooperation in socio-economic development between the two countries in Phase-II of CPEC.

General Han Weiguo thanked the prime minister for receiving him and said the conferment of the award was an honour for him.

He lauded Pakistan’s successful efforts against terrorism and steps to promote regional peace and stability.

General Han also underscored the importance of the time-tested Pakistan-China All Weather Strategic Cooperation Partnership and reaffirmed China’s resolve to deepen bilateral cooperation in all fields and further fortify the China-Pakistan relationship.

Source: Business Recorder

Date: 19/6/2019

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Why CPEC Could Change Pakistan, China And Asia Forever

The energy crisis in Pakistan is growing, and in spite of efforts by the government it does not seem to solvable. However, thanks to the intervention of China and the formation of CPEC, the country may see some relief in the coming years.

CPEC Defined

CPEC stands for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, and it is just one link in a chain that the Chinese are forming in the Asian region. The goal of the joint effort is to improve Pakistan’s infrastructure with updated roads, highways, and bridges. It also includes investment into energy projects, which could help solve the problems that Pakistan faces in that area. The local media and politicians praised Xi Jinping when he announced that the Chinese would invest $46 billion into the project.

China vs Pakistan: What are the risks?

The Chinese do not invest in a country unless there is a guaranteed return on that investment. Profit and risk are carefully calculated by experts before a proposal is drawn up, and there is rarely an investment made that does not heavily favor the Chinese government. This is one of the driving factors in the ongoing US vs China trade war, and is one reason Donald Trump refuses to give in on his demands to Beijing. Pakistan will have to consider very carefully what accepting CPEC could mean in the future.

According to the Organization for World Peace, investments from China have not always worked out in favor of countries they have invested in. Sri Lanka was unable to make re-payments on Chinese investments in the country. In retaliation, the Chinese government seized control of Hambantota Port for a period of 99 years. Pakistan will need to consider possibilities like this, as CPEC becomes part of their plan to move forward.

Pakistan’s Obstacles

Pakistan is a country in distress at the least, and in some people’s opinion it is a failed state altogether. There is conflict and division in various regions of the country, as well as growing tension with India. All of this coupled with an increasing energy crisis could be the fuel for a fire that can’t be easily put out. The country is desperately in need of help to sort out its mounting problems, and it is possible that CPEC and China could be the answer they have been looking for. Overcoming the hurdles to make CPEC profitable for both sides will be difficult.

Moving Forward

Pakistan welcomed the investment from China, as a means of eliminating the strain on their nation. However, they must treat China as an equal partner in the endeavor, or they may soon find themselves in even worse straits than they are now. Caution is a must as CPEC is implemented, in order to protect the Pakistani’s from inadvertently giving up territory to a foreign government. Already some issues have been reported with projects, as Dawn noted that Pakistani contractors and companies were denied access to the jobs. Instead, equipment and manpower was sourced from China, leaving the Pakistani’s outside the inner circle. The Diplomat reports that one official complained “labor is also coming from China. There are no restrictions on Chinese firms to involve Pakistani contractors and use local equipment and labor as they take the lion’s share of infrastructure projects.”

CPEC – Is it the solution?

If CPEC proceeds as Pakistan intended for it to, it could indeed be the salvation the people have been hoping for. Already 17 energy projects have been finalized, and 4 more are being considered. They include plans that involve coal, solar, hydropower, and natural gas to help improve the country’s energy situation. The addition of better roads to connect trade cities will also aid Pakistan’s ability to generate income. Additionally, China intends to connect the port of Gwadar in Pakistan’s Balochistan province with its own western province of Xinjiang via the Indian Ocean. This will help facilitate trade between the two nations.

The energy crisis in Pakistan is acute, with power outages lasting from 6-8 hours at a time and occurring all across the country. These outages cost the nation more than $18 billion in 2015 alone, and left the country crippled without power. The problem arises due to the outdated design of Pakistan’s power plants, which fall short of the necessary output to power the homes and businesses. On average they miss the mark by more than 7,000MW, leaving people to depend on diesel generators to provide power. CPEC could change all of that with the energy projects proposed by China. The plan calls for $35 billion to be invested in updating the infrastructure surrounding Pakistan’s power supply.

China Has The Power

China has proven that it has the technology to help Pakistan pull through its energy crisis. The country has managed to keep its own population supplied with power, and maintain economic growth and population increase. Most of their power supply is provided through coal, in spite of their commitment to finding clean energy sources. CPEC could help improve the situation in Pakistan. However, if the country is intent on clean energy as its main resource, then following China’s lead may not be the right choice. If CPEC is properly implemented, it could change the entire region forever. It would also prove that working together for the common good is profitable, and could encourage other countries to do the same. For now, we will have to wait and see how it turns out.

Source: Value Walk

Author: Joshua Rarrick

Date: 19/6/2019

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CPEC to turn AJK into Pakistan’s ‘economic engine’: Masood

MUZAFFARABAD: 

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has stressed upon the need to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to turn the liberated territory into ‘economic engine’ of Pakistan through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects.

He expressed these views while speaking as chief guest at a conference titled “Special Economic Zone – Future Prospects and Potential”, organised by CPEC Center of Azad Jammu and Kashmir University in collaboration with Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The conference was also addressed by AJK University Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Kalim Abbasi and Director (Strategy) Special Economic Zones Hassan N Ansari among others.

President Masood said that one of the four mega CPEC projects have been completed in AJK while initial planning for two more projects has been worked out. Similarly, work on Mansehra-Muzaffarabad-Mangla-Mirpur highway would start from the next financial year, he added.

He urged universities, academia and media of the country to effectively counter-negate campaign against the CPEC initiative besides highlighting its socio-economic benefits.

Under the CPEC, nine special economic zones would be established across the country, including one in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir for which 1,185 acres of land has already been identified, said the president, adding that 571 acres of land would be acquired in the first phase and 614 acres in the second.

Sardar Masood Khan said that feasibility study including environmental study, topographic survey and other technical formalities for the Mirpur special economic zone have already been completed and handed over to the Chinese officials. Special incentives have been offered by the AJK government for investment in Mirpur economic zone, he added.

“These incentives include tax-free import of machinery and other equipment, construction of infrastructure, and permission to prospective investors to generate their own electricity to run the industries at local level.”

President Masood said the government has set up a board of investment (BOI) to attract investment by local and foreign investors as well as overseas Kashmiris, and work is in progress on a comprehensive policy to protect capital of the investors and to restore their confidence.

While enumerating challenges and difficulties, the AJK president said that planning is under way to ensure an uninterrupted supply of natural and electricity to the economic zone, setting up a dry port, introduction of e-filing system and establishing a railway link between Dina, Jhelum and Mirpur.

He said that the government was trying to ensure speedy development works in special economic zones, resolve environmental issues on priority basis, and to take on board the local industrialists and small business.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Dr Abbasi shed light on efforts of CPEC center for the projection of economic corridor project. He also paid tributes to President Sardar Masood Khan for effectively highlighting the Kashmir issue at the OIC summit in Makkah.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed between China-Pakistan Study Center of ISSI and the Azad Jammu and Kashmir University, under which both the institutions will cooperate with each other in the field of education and research.

Source: Express Tribune

Date: 19/6/2019

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Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) mapping a New World of Opportunities

Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI) attracted world states for 6 years and the big steps were made for the implementation of the project during the last 6 years.

The head of states and governments from 37 countries and head of international organizations attended in the forum. The leaders from Azerbaijan, Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and other countries joined this year’s forum.12-panel discussions and other events were held under the theme of  “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future.”

While speaking in BRF, President of China Xi Jinping announced that 150 states including many prestigious international organizations support Belt and Road Initiatives. “It indicates that our initiatives cover the whole world” – Xi Jinping told that this is the new phase in the world development. Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan emphasized the importance of BRI for Pakistan during his speech at BRF.

Formation of BRI

“One Belt and One Road” initiation by the leadership of China is a restoration of Silk Way having rich historical roots. BRI is called “One Belt and One Road” until 2016.  China thought that the word “one” can make misinterpretation. Chinese strategists worked on to increase the role of China, a huge country in the economic and political scene of the world for a long time. They invented the way of transformation of China as a global power from regional one inspired by Chinese history.

After a long period of time, China decided to utilize its geography which made China an important and prestigious state during history. This is possible by reviving the historical Silk Way. China targets not only to restore Silk Way, but to make this way into international integration and communication centre by modernizing, expanding and attracting the big part of the world to the project.

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The initiation was primarily presented to international community verbally by President of China Xi Jinping during the official visit to Kazakhstan in 2013. Chinese leader could convince the elder to the project that how much it is important. While speaking at Nazarbayev University, Jinping emphasized the necessity and prospective of modernization of Silk Way and formation of Economic Belt along Silk Way. It means the world has met with this global project in Kazakhstan, the first time ever.

China leader paid an official visit to Indonesia in 2013. The content of the visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia was the same. Chinese leader made a historical speech in Indonesian parliament and emphasized the necessity of the formation of “XXI century Sea Silk Way.”

Two words used in these two historical visits made the cornerstone of the Belt and Road project. The phrase of Economic Belt of Silk Way and XXI Century Sea Silk Way was used in the name of the project “Belt and Road”.

The project announced in 2013 planned to be completed in 2049 (100th anniversary of People Republic of China). The project contained 900 sub-projects and the budget worth $890 billion.

Main goal of BRI

The part of BRI starts from China to Kazakhstan, then Mongolia Russia and over Iran to Europe. China plans to construct energy lines, highways, trains and fiber lines over the planned directions. One of the main aims of China is the integration of its undeveloped regions to the global economy.

The target is the join of 69 countries to the project, this means 42 percent of the material resources, 64% of the population, 40% of highways, 75% of the energy resources of world.

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The position of BRI – unavoidable state for China

BRI is not the regional project but international scale. Pakistan is an essential strategic ally for China in the project. There is no alternative for BRI’s seaway which vital for the realization of the project apart from the geographical position of Pakistan.

China aims to the realization of seaway of BRI with Pakistan. The strategic importance of Pakistan is determined by being a gate to Hormuz, Umman and Africa. At the same time, existence of border with China increases Pakistan’s importance more. Pakistan is the only state has the entrance to Hormuz on the borders of China.

The only alternative to Pakistan could be India. But, India is not considered a proper partner for China. It has several reasons. First of all, India will tend to rivalry with China more than partnership. It is no secret that the US sees India as a balance to China’s leadership in South Asia. Also, several political problems exist between two states. For example, Dalai Lama and Doklam problem between states.

Although India has similar geographical position but is not a country that China cooperate in BRI like Pakistan. For this, India worried the expansion of the project and Pakistan’s increasing importance. India also concerned the potential economic power of Pakistan and regional influence of it.

Geo-strategic importance of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

CPEC reflects Pakistan’s importance for China. CPEC can be considered the Pakistani branch of BRI. It is understood as the main locomotive of the project. It is not only a collaboration of two states but a structure for developing the global economy.

CPEC came to the agenda by Pakistani President Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister of China Li Kegiang in Islamabad, 2013. Sharif expressed its consent to the project while introducing to him. Primal agreement was signed by parties in 2013, June 5. The project officially started in 2015, 20 April. The complementation and the creation of job opportunities for 1.2 million citizens until 2030 are forecasted.

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2700 km long roads, railroad, fiber optic cables, energy pipeline and the construction of industrial and economic regions are considered within the project. The project covers the Xinjiang of China and Gwadar port of Pakistan and the pipelines and roads go to Basra.

CPEC is 1+4 model of cooperation. The modernization of Gwadar, infrastructure projects, construction of trade and energy lines from China and Chinese investment are based on 1+4 model.

Cornerstone of Gwadar project

Gwadar port holds the strategically important position. This port has the entrance to Hormuz and Babul-Mandap. the port is considered the heart of the project. It has critical significance for China’s Middle East project.

Generally, after the completion of CPEC, Chinese integration towards South Asia, the Middle East and Central Asia will be increased by a huge scale.

It is not coincidental that China makes billions worth investment on the realization of CPEC. 85% of energy import of China is provided via the Strait of Malacca. After the completion of the project, the dependence of China on the Strait of Malacca and new opportunities will be obtained. China will also get new opportunities to integrate Western economic processes. Apart from this, the length of the way of energy import will be diminished to 2414 km from 12070 km.

The total value of CPEC is $47.96 billion. The $34.18 billion is for natural energy and $4.18 billion for transport and $8.21 billion for railroads and $48 million for the modernization of Gwadar port. Currently, the total budget of CPEC reaches to $62-63 billion. Experts forecast the value of the project will reach to $100 billion.

Source: DND

Date: 18th June, 2019

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Pakistan, China agree to expedite work on CPEC’s Eastern Corridor

Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar and Ambassador of China Yao Jing during a meeting here on Monday agreed to expedite the work on Eastern Corridor from Sukkur to Hyderabad on BOT (Build, Operate, and Transfer) basis for its early completion.

The two dignitaries expressed satisfaction over the pace of projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

The minister said the incumbent government is committed to fast-track the progress on this flagship project between Pakistan and China. He appreciated the Chinese leadership and government for expanding the scope of CPEC by including socio-economic and agriculture sector development under the platform. The minister noted that signing of framework agreement on agriculture cooperation is a major milestone, adding that Pakistan will welcome Chinese agriculture companies to explore investment opportunities for initiation of joint ventures.

The minister informed the Chinese ambassador that less-developed areas including the merged districts of KP and Balochistan have been accorded priority in the next year’s development budget. He said that Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan will be finalised soon which will chalk out the way forward for development of the coastal city.

Various projects under CPEC framework including 300 MW coal-based power plant in Gwadar and Kohala hydro power station also came under discussion during the meeting.

 

Date: 18th June, 2019

Source: Daily Times

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Army chief reaffirms commitment to ensure CPEC security

ISLAMABAD: The Army on Monday reaffirmed its commitment to ensure security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The assurance was extend­ed by Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa during a meeting with Commander of China’s People’s Liberation Army Gen Han Weiguo at the General Headquarters (GHQ). The two led their respective delegations during the talks.

“COAS reaffirmed Pakistan Army’s unwavering support for CPEC security,” the ISPR said in a statement on the meeting.

Lately there has been a surge in terrorist activity in Balochistan. Security officials believe the sudden intensification of attacks was linked to the launch of second phase of CPEC, the progress on border fencing, and the fluid situation in Afghanistan. Last month’s attack on a hotel in Gwadar accentuated concerns about the security of CPEC.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had after the hotel attack said the attack was “an effort to sabotage our economic projects and prosperity”.

A source said China wanted greater vigilance against security threats and increased intelligence sharing with Pakistan.

Issues pertaining to regional security and military cooperation also came under discussion, the ISPR said in its statement.

Meanwhile, outgoing Austra­lian High Commissioner Mar­garet Anne Adamson also paid a farewell call on Gen Bajwa.

Matters of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting, the ISPR said.

 

Date: 18th June, 2019

Source: DAWN

CPEC remains top priority, Imran tells Xi

ISLAMABAD  –   Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday met President of China Xi Jinping wherein both the countries reaffirmed their all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.

The meeting took place in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, on the sidelines of the meeting of the Council of Heads of State of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a PM Office statement said.

During the “extremely cordial meeting,” the two leaders discussed the entire gamut of bilateral relations between “iron brothers” China and Pakistan including CPEC.

The prime minister said that CPEC remained the highest priority of the government. He thanked China for its steadfast support on all issues of Pakistan’s core interest and expressed satisfaction at the close coordination between the two sides on multilateral issues.

The prime minister reiterated Pakistan’s firm support to China on all issues of its core interest.

President Xi Jinping acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to counter terrorism and promote regional stability.

The two leaders discussed the regional situation and agreed to enhance coordination to build Pakistan China Community of Shared Destiny in the new era.

Both sides agreed that the visit of Vice President Wang Qishan had been a milestone. They expressed satisfaction that Pakistan and China had identical views on various international and regional issues.

The two leaders agreed to closely coordinate on challenges emerging from the changing global dynamics and affirmed that the time-tested Pakistan-China relationship would continue to move from strength to strength.

A statement issued by Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing after the meeting between President Xi and Prime Minister Khan in Bishkek said “Xi Jinping pointed out that in the past eight months, I met with the Prime Minister three times. This fully reflects the high level of China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership.”

The Chinese president also remarked that under the changing the international and regional situation, China and Pakistan should carry out closer coordination and cooperation to build a closer community of shared destiny.

Xi Jinping emphasized that both the countries must maintain, consolidate and develop China-Pakistan all-weather relations and all-round cooperation.

The Chinese president maintained that the two sides should thoroughly communicate on issues of common concern and jointly safeguard international and regional security and stability. “We must expand and enrich the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with new focus on industrial parks, agriculture and people’s livelihood,” he added.

Xi said it was necessary to seize the opportunity of the escalation of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement and vigorously expand bilateral trade. China was willing to provide assistance to Pakistan within its ability.

The Chinese president said his country supported Pakistan in carrying out the national anti-terrorism action plan and would help Pakistan strengthen its counter-terrorism capacity building, adding, “ China supports Pakistan and India to improve relations.”

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Viladimir Putin in a brief meeting on sidelines of the SCO Summit discussed Afghanistan issue, situation in Middle East and Iran, and took the Russian President into confidence on Kashmir’s situation.

Talking to media persons, he said the Russian President appreciated Pakistan’s role and efforts for promoting regional peace and security. He said different changes were taking place in the world but unfortunately global uncertainty was increasing. He said the SCO forum provided an opportunity for peace, stability and regional connectivity.

Source: The Nation

Date: June 15, 2019