Pakistan, China agree to strengthen strategic cooperation

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Islamabad, Sep 8 (IANS) Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday and both the leaders agreed to strengthen the strategic cooperation partnership between the two countries.

Wang, who is on a three-day official visit to Pakistan, and Qureshi held a joint press conference at the Foreign Office after having a one-on-one meeting and delegation-level talks, Geo News reported.

“Relations with China are an integral part of our foreign policy and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the new government’s top priority,” said Qureshi.

“Pakistan has played a key role in eliminating terrorism and China appreciated Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terror. We are proud of Pakistan and China’s friendship,” Qureshi said after the meeting, adding that the friendship had “withstood every test”.

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He said that the purpose of the Chinese Foreign Minister’s meeting was to increase communication with the new government.

On his part, Wang said: “We want to strengthen relations with Pakistan. Had a positive meeting with Qureshi.”

This is the first official visit by a Chinese dignitary since the new government was formed in Pakistan.

Wang extended an invitation to Prime Minister Imran Khan to be the guest of honour at the International Import Expo in China. “The Chinese Foreign Minister has invited the Prime Minister to visit the country in November,” Qureshi said.

In addition to meeting Qureshi, Wang will meet Khan, outgoing President Mamnoon Hussain, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa. He is also likely to meet President-elect Arif Alvi.

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Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said that Wang “underscored Beijing’s firm support to Pakistan’s socio-economic progress and development”.

Both ministers resolved to strengthen strategic cooperation and China was assured of Pakistan’s continued commitment to the CPEC as a priority project, the report said.

Wang Yi had arrived in the capital on Friday.

–IANS

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