BEIJING - China will continue to see Pakistan as priority in its neighbourhood diplomacy and work with it to take our relations to new heights, Chinese Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Han Changfu said on Friday.
“As the all-weather strategic partner of China , I believe, Pakistan will become one of the primary beneficiaries of China’s development and progress,” he said while addressing a big gathering at a reception hosted by Embassy of Pakistan here in connection with Pakistan Day. He said the two countries continued to strengthen their cooperation in the complex regional and international circumstances. During President Xi Jinping visit to Pakistan in 2015, “our bilateral ties elevated to all-weather strategic cooperative partnership turning a new chapter in our relations,” he added.
The Chinese minister opined that acting on consensus reached by our two leaders, the two countries need to further strengthen partnership and mutual trust, speed up the building of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and expand people to people exchanges to strengthen ties among the people and also particularly strengthen cooperation in agriculture development and poverty alleviation.
Han Changfu said at the international fora, Pakistan had become an important force playing a positive role in United Nations (UN), Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and other multilateral organizations. Dedicated to the international counter-terrorism fight, Pakistan had rendered enormous sacrifices and made major contributions for the peace and stability of the region and the world at large, he added. He said China-Pakistan friendship had a long history and it was getting strong over the years.
Pakistan was among first countries to recognize the founding of new China and also the first Islamic state to establish diplomatic ties with China . The Chinese minister said that China and Pakistan relations since the inception of diplomatic relations had withstood all the challenges at the international level and also went through challenges in domestic circumstances.
“We have forges all-weather friendship that is higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than iron and sweeter than honey and we have conducted all dimensional strategic cooperation,” he added. Han Changfu said over the past 78 years, the hardworking Pakistani people had shown great wisdom in building up their country and their efforts had paid off as Pakistan had grown to a national strength and people enjoyed a better standard of living.
On behalf of the Chinese government, he also extended warmest congratulations to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on its 78th National Day. In his welcome address, Pakistan Ambassador to China Masood Khalid said March 23 was a historic day for Pakistan. On the very day, the Muslims of Indian sub-continent adopted the Lahore resolutions which heralded the beginning of a practical struggle for attainment of Pakistan.
He paid tribute to the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the national poet, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal and leading lights for the freedom movement to this day. Ambassador Khalid said this year Pakistan celebrated the 67th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with China , adding, “Our all-weather strategic cooperative partnership is an account of mutual trust, respect and shared values.”
He said their relationship had over time transformed into one of the most important relationships in Asia and served as a model in inter-state relationships.
Ambassador Khalid said the launch of CPEC had further deepened the friendship. In the outgoing year, CPEC had achieved steady progress in the area of energy, transportation, networks and Gwadar port, which was operational now and the first phase of the trade zone had been launched. At present 22 projects were under implementation, he added.
He said completion of each CPEC project brought “us closer to a realization of our shared vision for regional connectivity, trade, and infrastructure and energy resources development.” “It is a model of win-win cooperation between our two countries as well as other countries in the region,” he added.
The ambassador said bilateral cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts had intensified in recent years promoting goodwill and friendship between the two nations. “We will continue to strengthen our linkages in all fields and take our bilateral relations to new heights.” Later, the chief guest along with the other distinguished guest performed the cake-cutting ceremony.
Two pianists, who arrived here from Pakistan, enthralled the audience with playing different tunes of national songs.
Secretary-General Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Rashid Alimov, senior diplomats and officials, traders, and a large number of Chinese and Pakistanis attended the reception.