Diplomatic President Zardari receives Chinese PM at the AirportMay 22, 2013
Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari Wednesday set the tone of warm welcome to Chinese Premier Mr. Li Keqiang by sidestepping protocol in receiving the visiting dignitary at the Islamabad Airport, followed by a tete-a-tete in the Presidency that was also joined by PML N President Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Caretaker Prime Minister Justice R Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, Chairman PPP Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Ms Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, conferred Nishan-e-Pakistan on Mr. Li followed by a Luncheon banquet.
The banquet was attended by a galaxy of country’s civil, political and military elite.
The immaculately choreographed activities, the participation of leaders of all political parties, the substantive one on one and delegation level talks and the signing of a number of agreements and MoUs including the one pertaining to Pak China economic corridor highlighted once again that Pak China relations transcended political divide, said Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar while talking to the media giving a roundup. He said that the two leaders held wide ranging discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues.
The Spokesperson said that the President urged the need for improved connectivity between Pakistan and China and the region at large which he said would turn this region into a vibrant trade, energy and economic corridor. Gawadar project is part of the endeavour to improve connectivity and holds great promise to create a regional economic and trade corridor, the President said and termed the twenty first century as the century of Asia. He emphasized the need for joint efforts by all to realize the shared aspiration for the common good of the people of the region.
The President while warmly welcoming Mr. Keqiang, the Premier of the State Council of the Peoples Republic of China on his visit to Pakistan, thanked him for choosing Pakistan as one of his first destination, after becoming Premier which he said demonstrated the depth of time-tested friendship between the two countries.
The President said that Premier Li Keqiang’s visit is taking place at a very significant moment in Pakistan’s history, where for the first time in Pakistan’s history a peaceful, democratic transition is taking place. He also congratulated Mr. Li Keqiang on his appointment as Premier and the Communist Party of China on a successful leadership transition in China.
He expressed confidence that under the wise leadership of President Xi Jinping and Mr. Li Keqiang, the Chinese people will add new chapters to their glorious history and attain the “Chinese dream”.
The President said that Premier Li Keqiang’s visit will mark yet another important step forward in reinforcing the strategic partnership between the two countries and expressed hope that the visit would further strengthen Pak China strategic ties by opening up new avenues for bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.
The President said that the Government and the people of Pakistan highly value their relations with china which are unparalleled in the contemporary era of interstate relations. Pak China historical relationship, characterized by mutual trust, respect and cooperation transcends the governmental level and permeates into the level of the people of the two countries, he said and stressed for more concerted efforts to translate the full potential of this strategic partnership for the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries. The
President Zardari said that Pakistan enjoys unique relationship with China which is rooted in national consensus and has always been the corner stone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
The spokesperson said that the President recalled his nine visits to China and said that we are greatly impressed with China’s remarkable growth, its culture, history and its traditions. China’s growing economic power has unleashed positive momentum to take our economic cooperation to new heights, he remarked.
The President said that Pakistan’s geostrategic location and its trade and economic potential offer great opportunities for the Chinese investors and called upon Chinese business community to take advantage of the enormous opportunities to develop mutually beneficial partnerships.
The President appreciated China’s economic support and assistance to the economic development of Pakistan and thanked the Chinese government for their continued support to the affected people of Attaabad Lake and upper Hunza. He sought continued support of the Chinese government for affectees of Attaabad Lake and upper Hunza. He also appreciated China’s support to Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.
The Spokesperson said that the President on the occasion also offered his heartfelt condolences on the loss of precious lives in recent earthquake in Sichuan province, China.
During bilateral talks the two leaders agreed to further boost bilateral relations in the fields of economy, trade, investment, agriculture, industry, defence and people to people contacts with special focus on further strengthening economic linkages.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the current status of bilateral trade ties and urged the need for more consistent efforts on both sides to boost bilateral trade to US$ 15 billion from the current US$ 12.4 billion in the next two to three years.
The two sides agreed to speed up work on the projects identified under the Five Year Development Programme and also decided to press ahead with the second phase of negotiations on China Pakistan Free Trade Agreement. The spokesperson said that the meeting decided to start work on the China Pakistan Agriculture Demonstration Zone and establishing Young Entrepreneurs Forum for this purpose. The two countries have agreed to the holding of annual Pak-China Trade and Investment Forum which will meet alternately in Beijing and Islamabad.
The President said that Pakistan is energy starved country and sought Chinese cooperation to develop hydro, thermal, and solar and wind power generation to meet the Pakistan’s growing demand of energy. The President also called for opening more branches of Chinese banks in Pakistan and the operationalization of the currency Swap Arrangement which he said would help bolster trade and business linkages between the two countries. The President while expressing satisfaction over the working of Pak China Joint Energy Working Group asked for early holding of the 3rd round of the Joint Energy Working Group JEWG and said that Pakistan appreciates the interest of Chinese solar and wind companies to invest in these sectors and take advantage of the available opportunities.
President Zardari expressed hope that the various MoUs and agreements inked between the two countries today in various fields including economy, Science and Technology, Space & Upper Atmosphere communication and energy would give further impetus to the trade and investment ties hence improving the wellbeing of the people of the two countries.
The Spokesperson said that the two leaders shared common concerns on terrorism, separatism and extremism and said that it pose serious threats to regional peace, stability and security. They reiterated their resolve to continue cooperation both at bilateral and multilateral levels in combating these evil forces. Mr. Li Keqiang said that the government and the people of China recognized and appreciated the huge human and material sacrifices Pakistan had made in the fight against extremism and assured that China will continue to support Pakistan in combating terrorism.
The President said that both China and Pakistan have stood together in upholding the principles of justice, fairness, equity and adherence to UN Charter besides enjoying commonality of view on a wide range of global issues.
Chinese Premier Mr. Li Keqiang thanked the President and government of Pakistan for the warm welcome and hospitality and said that Pakistan was an important country in the region and it has made significant contribution to peace, stability and development of the region and the world at large, adding that Pak China relationship was an excellent example of countries of different social systems living in amity with each other.
Mr. Li assured that China will continue to firmly support Pakistan in its efforts to uphold independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and achieving national stability and development.
Chinese Premier Mr. Li Keqiang said that he has selected Pakistan for his official visit to show to the international community that China was committed to consolidate its traditional friendship with Pakistan and deepening the strategic cooperation between the two countries, adding that no matter how the international situation may evolve, China Pakistan will always remain each other’s trustworthy partners and reliable brothers.
Discussing regional situation, the President reiterated Pakistan’s abiding interest in the stability and peace of the region and expressed the resolve to continue supporting every effort aimed at bringing peace and stability to the region. Pakistan believes that China is an important factor of peace and stability in the region, he said and expressed hope that China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting global peace and development.
From Chinese side, the meeting was attended among others by Mr. Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Xu Shaoshi, Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission NDRC, Mr. Gao Hucheng, Minister of Commerce, Mr. Xiao Jie, Deputy Secretary General of State Council, Mr. Song Tao, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Liu Jian, Ambassador of China to Pakistan.
From Pak side, the delegation level meeting was attended among others by Mr. Asadullah Khan Mandokhel, Minister of Communication and Ports & Shipping, Mr. Maqbool H.H. Rahimtoola, Minister of Commerce & Textile Industries, Malik Mohammad Habib Khan, Minister of Interior and Narcotics Control, Dr. Musadik Malik, Minister of Water & Power, Dr. Younis Soomro, Minister of Housing & Works / Minister-in-Waiting, Mr. Shahid Amjad, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Mr. M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar , Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani, Foreign Secretary, federal secretaries Economic affairs division, Finance, Ports & Shipping, Interior, Addl secretary Defence, DG ,Strategic Plans Division and Mr. Masood Khalid, Ambassador of Pakistan to China.