Regional, international developments not to affect Pak-China ties: PM Imran

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ISLAMABAD: Before embarking on an official visit to China, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor will remain a priority for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government.
PM Imran Khan departed for a four-day official visit to China today. The prime minister will be visiting the country on the invitation of President Xi Jinping to attend the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Friday.
In his statement, PM Khan said that he is beginning his visit with the resolve to take strategic cooperative partnership with China to newer heights.
“China is our closest friend and ‘iron brother’. I look forward to meet my good friends President Xi and Premier Li for an in-depth exchange of views on all issues of mutual interest,” the statement quoted the PM as saying.
PM Imran Khan said that Pakistan-China bilateral ties are not only based on convergence of interests but are rooted in common experiences of past and high level of mutual trust and understanding.
He further said that the ties will remain unaffected by any regional and international developments.
“In phase II of CPEC we are jointly focusing on socio-economic development, job creation, livelihood projects and accelerating cooperation in agriculture and industrial cooperation including Special Economic Zones,” said the premier.
PM said that Pakistan will standby China on all issues of core interest, thanking the neighbouring country for its support for Pakistan’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
PM Imran said that the CPEC is a flagship, reaffirming his commitment to strengthening bilateral ties.
During his visit, PM Imran will also deliver a keynote speech in the opening ceremony of the forum and participate in the Leaders’ Round Table and participate in events related to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Belt and Road Forum provides a platform to countries participating in Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for exchanging views and experiences on regional connectivity; policy synergy; socio-economic development and trade and commerce. Leaders from 40 countries and delegations from over 100 countries, international organisations and corporate sector would participate in the event.
In addition to participating in the Belt and Road Forum, PM Imran will also hold bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.
Pakistan and China will also sign several MoUs and Agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse areas, as per the statement.
The prime minister will also sign the second phase of the Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and China during his visit to Beijing.
Following the forum, PM Imran will attend Beijing International Horticulture Exhibition-2019 and address Pakistan Trade and Investment Conference in Beijing.
This will be the premier’s second visit to China since assuming office in August last year. PM Imran had earlier paid a state visit to China in November 2018.

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