Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to strengthen cooperation on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and enhance the bilateral strategic partnership between the two countries.
The agreement was reached during a meeting at the People’s Great Hall of China on Wednesday, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). During the meeting, the two leaders reaffirmed broad-based cooperation in economy and investment while agreeing that both sides would make joint efforts to “launch the ML-1 as an early harvest project under the CPEC framework” since it is a project of great strategic importance.
“In the meeting, mutual cooperation between China and Pakistan, especially in economic fields, was discussed,” the PMO said, “Both sides agreed to increase multilateral cooperation, including CPEC, between China and Pakistan and further strengthen strategic partnership,” the statement added.
According to the PMO, Sharif also thanked the Chinese government and the people of China for their assistance to help Pakistan recover from devastating floods that have killed over 1,700 in the country since the monsoon in mid-June.
In his response, the Chinese president assured PM Sharif that Beijing would continue to provide its assistance to Pakistan for sustainable economic growth and to channel its potential as a geo-economic hub.
PM Sharif’s first China visit
Prime Minister Sharif arrived in Beijing on Tuesday on his first official two-day visit to the country, since taking office in April. During the visit, the Pakistan PM will meet the Chinese leadership and discuss the $65 billion CPEC project in Pakistan that connects China to the Arabian Sea. He is also among the first leaders to visit China after the historic 20th National Congress of the Communist Party (CPC) of China that elected Xi Jinping as general secretary of the party.
The prime minister is accompanied by a delegation consisting of federal ministers, senior government officials, and special assistants during the visit.