Pakistan urges collective strategy
Updated: 2013-05-31 02:58
By Pu Zhendong in Xi'an (China Daily)
China and Pakistan should work on a comprehensive joint strategy to combat major regional challenges such as disaster relief and climate change, a senior Pakistani politician said on Thursday.
Mushahid Hussain, secretary-general of the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid e Azam Group), said China and Pakistan, as neighbors and friends, share similar environmental concerns.
"As our two countries face common problems on climate change, poverty and natural disasters, the governments will need strategies and deeper cooperation to respond effectively to crises of these kinds in the future," Hussain said.
"To achieve green development over the world, states have to link to each other on three levels: bilateral, regional and global," he added.
President Xi Jinping vowed last week to set and strictly observe an ecological "red line" that requires all regions to optimize, prioritize, restrict or prohibit their industrial development according to their defined nature. "On issues of ecological and environmental protection, people should not cross the red line or they will get punished," Xi was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying.
Hussain applauded the concept of an ecological red line, saying the term shows China's determination to pursue quality development.
Days before Hussain's trip to Xi'an for the International Conference of Asian Political Parties special conference, he also had the chance to meet Premier Li Keqiang in Islamabad.
"Premier Li sent a very clear signal to our country during his visit, calling Pakistan China's good partner and brother," said Hussain. "This is very important in terms of bilateral relations."
During his two-day stay in Pakistan, Li agreed on a long-term plan for an economic corridor to further connect central and western parts of China with Pakistan, and also signed 11 cooperation documents covering areas including trade, technology and culture.
China shares a 600-km border with Pakistan. The corridor connects China's vast Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Pakistan's Gwadar port at the Indian Ocean through the Karakoram Highway.
Hussain said the construction of the economic corridor will join the markets of South, Central and West Asia, and inject new impetus into regional cooperation. He also hailed the establishment of the special economic zone launched in 2010 in Kashgar of Xinjiang, saying it spurs regional economic growth. Bilateral trade between Pakistan and China soared 17.6 percent to $12.4 billion last year, with a target of $15 billion in the next two to three years.
In previous interviews, Pakistani Ambassador to China Masood Khalid encouraged Chinese business communities to be more proactive in exploring opportunities in Pakistan, in agriculture and the halal food industry, to tap the full trade potential.
Hussain is also chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, a non-governmental think tank promoting people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
He said the relationship between Beijing and Islamabad has transformed into a deep, resilient strategic partnership based on shared values and interests since the 1950s.
"I am very positive about the prospect of a modern Sino-Pakistani relationship," Hussain said.
"It is rare and delightful that two neighbors the size of China and Pakistan can be free of friction," he added.