Saturday, December 3, 2022

Pakistan, China resolve to counter threats, designs against CPEC and friendship

Pakistan, China resolve to counter threats, designs against CPEC and friendship

ISLAMABAD (APP) - The leadership of Pakistan and China have expressed their strong determination to counter all threats and designs against China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan-China friendship.

“Pakistan reaffirmed its commitment to the safety and security of all Chinese personnel, projects and institutions in Pakistan. The Chinese side appreciated Pakistan’s strong determination and vigorous measures in this regard,” said a  joint statement between the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on Wednesday.

The joint statement was issued after Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif concluded his two-day official visit to the People’s Republic of China, which was his first bilateral visit after assuming office.

Noting completion of a decade of CPEC’s remarkable achievements in 2023, the two sides expressed satisfaction at CPEC’s contribution to socio-economic development of the two countries.

The two sides recognized climate change as an existential threat and undertook to make concrete and concerted efforts to mitigate and adapt to the adverse impact of climate change.

The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to the UNFCCC as well as to the goals, principles and provisions of its Paris Agreement, in particular the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR).

Both the leadership recognized that the recent floods in Pakistan were closely linked to the adverse impact of climatic change for which developing countries bear little responsibility, but were subject to a disproportionate impact.

The two sides called on developed countries to fulfill their commitments, take the lead in emissions reduction to ensure the development rights and space for developing countries, and provide adequate climate financing to developing countries.

Appreciating Pakistan’s initiative to combat human-induced climate change and China’s initiative to promote green cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, the two sides agreed to step up cooperation in such areas as ecosystem restoration and water resource management.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reaffirmed his Government’s willingness to commit to high quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and highlighted the salience of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project under BRI, to Pakistan’s economic and social development.

The leaders took note of the convening of the 11th CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on 27 October 2022, which reviewed the progress of ongoing projects and agreed to continue the momentum of CPEC’s high-quality development.

Recognizing that ML-1 is a project of key significance under the CPEC framework and of importance to Pakistan’s socio-economic development, the two sides agreed to build upon the leadership consensus and to advance the process of its earliest implementation.

They also agreed to actively advance the Karachi Circular Railway, which was an urgent requirement for Pakistan’s biggest city.

Recognizing the significance of the Gwadar port as the leading project of CPEC and an important node in cross regional connectivity, both sides expressed satisfaction on the completion of key projects and agreed to speed up progress on other related projects of the Gwadar port and free zone.

“In line with the leadership’s consensus to accelerate cooperation in the areas of agriculture, mining, IT, socio-economic development under CPEC, the two sides agreed to further build on the health, industry, digital and green corridors launched earlier this year and carry out relevant cooperation,” the joint statement said.

The Chinese side appreciated the efforts of the Pakistani government to vigorously develop renewable energy projects including solar projects which aligns with the green, low carbon and environmental development of energy sector, and encourages participation of Chinese companies in this Pakistani endeavor.

The two sides agreed to actively promote the implementation of Framework Agreement on Industrial Cooperation to support Pakistan’s industrial development.

They noted that the recent meeting of CPEC Joint Working Group on International Cooperation and Coordination (ICC) had highlighted that CPEC was an open and inclusive platform.

Both sides welcomed interested third parties to benefit from investment opportunities in the priority areas of CPEC cooperation such as industry, agriculture, IT, science and technology, and oil and gas.

The two sides noted the steady increase in bilateral trade volume since the operationalization of the second phase of the Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement.

Both sides resolved to further coordinate to enhance trade liberalization under the second phase of CPFTA and agreed to convene an early meeting of Committee on Trade in Goods.

The Chinese side expressed willingness to actively support the Pakistani side in expanding export to China and welcomed quality goods including food and agricultural products from Pakistan to enter the Chinese market.

It was further agreed to encourage investments and partnerships in the export-oriented sectors of Pakistan which would contribute to achieving sustainable bilateral trade growth.

The two sides agreed to conduct a joint study to further enhance bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

The two sides agreed to fully leverage overland trade and exchanges by upgrading facilities at Khunjerab border port and strengthening cooperation on epidemic containment and customs clearance in border areas.

They also agreed to work together to further strengthen the implementation of the Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA), which was an important pillar of regional connectivity.

Acknowledging the massive size of China’s e-commerce market and its potential to further bolster bilateral trade, the two sides welcomed the signing of an MOU on e-commerce and jointly supported the establishment of Pakistan’s country pavilions on China’s e-commerce platforms.

The two sides agreed to further strengthen cooperation on online payment systems, logistics, warehousing and customs facilitation, and enhance collaboration between start-ups and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

The two sides noted that the first meeting of the China-Pakistan Joint Working Group on Trade, Investment and E-commerce and the China-Pakistan Poverty Reduction and Social Development Forum were held this year, and exchanges and docking activities in the pharmaceutical, agricultural and shoe-making industries as well as capacity building courses on poverty reduction were organized.

 “China is willing to continue relevant practical cooperation with Pakistan to contribute to poverty reduction and socioeconomic development in Pakistan. Noting the displacement of millions of people due to the recent floods in Pakistan, the Chinese side agreed to support the Pakistani government in recovering the economy in disaster-hit areas, including through the Benazir Income Support Program,” the statement further said.

The Pakistani side commended China’s remarkable achievement of lifting over 800 million people out of absolute poverty.