The current moment is a historic one for the people of both China and Pakistan. This year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan, and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. I would like to extend my warm congratulations to the governments and people of both countries on this landmark occasion.
The historical ties between the people of China and Pakistan can be traced back to the ancient Silk Road, where many merchants, scholars, monks and ascetics, such as Fa Xian and Xuan Zang, traveled to and from each other across the all-hazardous Karakorum Mountains, laying the foundation for mutually beneficial exchanges and communication between Chinese civilization and the Indus Valley civilization.
Pakistan was the first among Islamic countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China in 1950. A year later, diplomatic relations were formally established between the two countries. 70 years on, our brotherhood has withstood the vicissitudes of time, grown and developed, and has never been affected by changes in the regional and international environment. Thanks to the tireless efforts of several generations, the relationship between our two countries has been elevated to an all-weather strategic partnership.
In this great journey, Pakistan has been the staunchest supporter of China’s struggle for its legitimate rights in the United Nations. Pakistan also helped facilitate the “secret visit” of the then U.S. National Security Advisor Kissinger to China in 1971, which laid an important foundation for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China and had a decisive impact on East-West relations. In July this year, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this ground breaking visit.
Pakistan-China relations are characterized by deep mutual trust, understanding and common interests, and this unique, time-tested “hard-core” brotherhood has continued to grow and reach new heights. We support each other on issues of core interest to each other. Pakistan has always adhered to the one-China policy and supported China on issues related to Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea. China has always stood with us on Pakistan’s key strategic, economic and developmental imperatives. The people and government of Pakistan highly value China’s principled and impartial stance on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
Pakistan-China friendship is deeply rooted in the hearts of both peoples. We have a strong tradition of supporting each other in times of trouble. We have had exemplary cooperation in the fight against the new corona pneumonia epidemic. After the outbreak, Pakistan provided diplomatic and material support to China, and in March 2020, President Arif Alvi visited China to show solidarity with his Chinese brothers and sisters. Likewise, China provided critical material and vaccine support to Pakistan in its fight against the epidemic. The critical assistance provided by China has strongly helped Pakistan fight the epidemic and saved many precious lives. China’s fight against the epidemic has set a new example for the world to emulate.
Since 1949, China has made world-renowned achievements in all areas of human social development. Since I became Prime Minister in 2018, I have visited China three times and have had the privilege of being able to gain insight into the philosophy and strategy behind China’s rapid economic development. China’s rapid development and prosperity has provided a new paradigm for developing countries to achieve progress in economic and social development.
Pakistan was one of the first countries to support and participate in President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” initiative. We highly share the spirit and philosophy of the Belt and Road Initiative and support building bridges of win-win cooperation beyond national borders to promote economic integration and build a community of destiny. As a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is complementary to the Pakistani government’s vision of a “New Pakistan.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a transformative project. In its first phase of construction, it has helped us remove major infrastructure bottlenecks and meet basic energy needs for unhindered economic growth. Of the 70 early harvest projects, 46 have been launched or completed, with a total investment of $25.4 billion and the creation of 70,000 local jobs.
The second phase of the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will focus on industrialization, agricultural cooperation, social and livelihood development and job creation. I am confident that with the joint efforts of both sides, we will also successfully advance the No. 1 Railway Trunk Line project. The development of Gwadar Port and the Free Trade Zone is also making rapid progress, which will certainly promote regional connectivity and economic integration.
“The central pillar of the New Pakistan vision is a geo-economy that is committed to transforming Pakistan into a vibrant economy by developing partnerships, promoting connectivity and maintaining regional peace. Our goal is to mobilize the full benefits of Pakistan’s geo-economic location and the dividends of its rapidly growing population of 220 million to become a global economic melting pot and economic hub.
With this vision in mind, the Government of Pakistan has implemented decisive and far-reaching reforms in all areas of the economy, setting our country on a progressive path to better quality, more inclusive and sustainable development. Despite the challenges posed by the new coronary pneumonia, Pakistan’s GDP is expected to grow by 3.94% in FY 2020-2021.
To unlock Pakistan’s full potential as a geo-economic hub, we have introduced positive incentives to attract foreign investment and initiated fiscal and monetary reforms to create a favorable business environment. We welcome Chinese businessmen and entrepreneurs to benefit from the relevant mechanisms and make Pakistan a preferred destination for establishing long-lasting business ties.
China has become the largest foreign direct investor and the largest trading partner of Pakistan. The second phase of the China-Pakistan FTA protocol, which came into force on January 1, 2020, further expands the coverage of bilateral trade liberalization products.
No amount of development has meaning if the country’s wealth does not reach the poorer segments of society and grow equitably. Our vision of development is to eradicate poverty and make people the masters of their own destiny. In this regard, we hope to draw inspiration from China’s success in lifting 800 million people out of poverty in just 40 years.
I look forward to further benefiting from China’s experience in realizing the vision of a people-centered “New Pakistan”. During my meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, we reached an important consensus and agreed to take our bilateral relationship to unprecedented heights and to open up new areas of cooperation in trade, investment, and humanistic exchanges. A high degree of mutual trust is the most fundamental feature of Pakistan-China relations. The Pakistani side is willing to continue to deepen mutual trust with the Chinese side, maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges, and firmly support each other on issues of core interests.
The Communist Party of China has made great contributions to the peaceful return of the Chinese people and China to the center of the world’s political economy. Under the far-sighted leadership of President Xi Jinping, the Chinese people are on the road to achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We sincerely hope that under the inspiring leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, China will move forward on its great historical journey to basically realize socialist modernization by 2035 and build a modern and powerful socialist country that is rich, strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious and beautiful by 2049.
On behalf of the Government and people of Pakistan, I would like to solemnly reiterate to our Chinese brothers and sisters that Pakistan will always stand with China and be China’s most reliable partner, hard-core brother and trustworthy friend at all times. Let us join hands to build a closer China-Pakistan community of destiny in the new era.
Long live Pakistan-China friendship! paradigm for developing countries to achieve economic and social development and progress.