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Pakistani prime minister's visit marks a new era in ties

By Muhammad Shahbaz | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-11-06 11:16
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) holds talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is paying an official visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Nov 3, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

The ties between China and Pakistan have been long-standing and mutually beneficial. Pakistan is one of the first countries to recognize the People's Republic of China and the two nations formally established diplomatic relations on May 21, 1951. Since then, both countries have placed considerable importance on the maintenance of an extremely close and supportive special relationship and they have regularly exchanged high-level visits resulting in a variety of agreements.

The newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan visited China from November 2 to November 5 to strengthen the diplomatic relationship between the two countries. During the meetings with the top officials, Khan reinstated his government stance on CPEC and countered the misunderstandings in media about his government stand on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He has been able to better understand the Belt and Road Initiative and the importance of CPEC. During his visit 15 MOUs were inked in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Agriculture, poverty alleviation, industrial cooperation and technical training were among the agreements reached between the two historic allies.

Khan was also invited as guest of honor at the inaugural China International Import Expo to deliver a speech. Khan stated that the main agenda of his government is to fight against corruption and learn from China experience in this regard. He wants to learn from China how China has alleviated poverty from 700 million people. According to Khan, China is the only country in the history of the world to bring the 700 million people out of the poverty and increase the standards of life.

Khan said "at a time when the international trade system is under attack, when unilateral commercial benefits are being sought aggressively by some, and when protectionism is on the rise, we take great comfort in President Xi's courageous affirmation: 'The doors of China's Opening Up will never shut; but will only open ever wider'."

Around 172 countries, regions and international organizations from five continents are showcasing their development achievements and international image at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE). More than 3,600 companies from different countries will hold discussions and seek common development with over 400,000 purchasers from China and overseas during the event.

The visit by Khan will surely prove to be the beginning of a new era for the cooperation between China and Pakistan. It will also provide an opportunity for the newly elected government to get support from China and exchange and learn from each other experience. It will also provide a great opportunity to cultivate personal relationships and understanding between leaderships. The visit will also prove to be a milestone to understand the Chinese leadership, their vision and commitment to the cause of building a future of shared destiny in the region.

Dr Muhammad Shahbaz is project director of Belt and Road International Medical Education Alliance.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.

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