China, Pakistan celebrate 10th anniversary of CPEC, acknowledge its benefits


ISLAMABAD: China and Pakistan on Monday signed six agreements for the promotion of bilateral cooperation as Chinese vice premier Mr He Lifeng, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal and other foreign dignitaries looked on.

On the occasion, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that “Pakistan is absolutely ready to contribute towards Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision of the shared destiny of progress and prosperity.”

The premier made these remarks during the signing ceremony of six agreements and MoUs for the promotion of bilateral cooperation between China and Pakistan.

PM Shehbaz said that the documents signed by the two countries were aimed at further enhancing economic relations between the two countries.

He added that under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), more than $25 billion worth of investment has taken place in Pakistan’s power and hydel sector, road infrastructure and public transport.

Shehbaz maintained, “We are now entering the second phase of the CPEC which will envisage investments in sectors, such as, agriculture and information technology.”

He added that both ML-1 and Karachi circular railway projects are of immense importance, expressing the confidence that both sides “will successfully achieve these and many other projects”. He was also confident that this will help Pakistan stand on its own feet”.

The premier said both Pakistan and China enjoy a unique relationship, adding “We are all-weather friends, iron brothers and this friendship will continue and will not tolerate any obstacles in its way”.

The two countries have signed six agreements and MoUs for the promotion of bilateral cooperation. The first document was signed on the joint cooperation committee (JCC) of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the second document was related to the establishment of an expert exchange mechanism within the framework of CPEC.

The third document was signed by the Secretary Ministry of National Food Security Zafar Hassan and the Chinese Charge D’affaires Ms Pang Chunxue for the export of dried Chillies from Pakistan to China.

Member Planning of National Highway Authority Asim Amin and Chinese Charge D’affaires Pang Chunxue signed the fourth document on the realignment of the Karakoram Highway Phase II project.

Addressing the occasion, PM Shehbaz said, “I thank the Chinese president for sending his senior official to Pakistan, expressing the solidarity of people-to-people friendship between the two countries. This gesture demonstrates the strength of our friendship.”

“I have no doubt that we are entering into the second phase of CPEC. Today, we have signed some important documents which will enhance our economic cooperation, and we will undertake the second phase under a new mode,” he told the gathering.

The PM highlighted that the agreements would lead to investments in agriculture and IT, enabling Pakistan, with China’s support, to export items according to the requirements and standards of the Chinese government.

He emphasised, “The CPEC was signed by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and it was implemented promptly.”

“Today, we can claim that under the CPEC, more than $25bn investment took place in power, energy, public transport, and other sectors.”

He also expressed gratitude to the Chinese vice premier for visiting Pakistan as the two countries celebrate ten years of the CPEC. After the ceremony, delegation-level talks were held by PM Shehbaz and He Lifeng which encompassed multiple areas of bilateral cooperation.

PM welcomes Chinese vice premier

On Monday morning, the Chinese vice premier was accorded a welcome after he arrived at the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad to meet PM Shehbaz Sharif.

The premier received the foreign dignitary at the main entrance of the PM House.

Upon He Lifeng’s arrival, the prime minister introduced his delegation comprising federal cabinet members Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Ishaq Dar, Rana Sanaullah, Syed Naveed Qamar, Ahsan Iqbal, Saad Rafiq, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Hina Rabbani Khar and Tariq Fatemi to the Chinese vice premier.

Taking to Twitter, the PM “warmly welcomed” the Chinese vice premier and the members of his delegation.

“They are visiting Pakistan to join us in celebrating the 10th anniversary of CPEC and witnessing first-hand the transformations brought about by this game-changing initiative,” PM Shehbaz said.

Earlier, the FO had also acknowledged Lifeng’s “prominent role” in China’s international economic relations and implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, of which CPEC is a flagship project.

As the chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission from 2017 to 2023, he was “instrumental in the planning and execution of multiple CPEC projects in Pakistan”, the FO had said.

It had added that his visit was a part of regular high-level exchanges and dialogue between Pakistan and China and reflected the importance attached by both countries to further deepen their “all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, enhance economic and financial cooperation, advance high-quality development of CPEC and explore new avenues for strengthening trade and investment ties”.

Security beefed up

According to the security details, around 2,716 personnel of police, Dol­phin Force, Frontier Cons­tabulary and Pakistan Army will be deployed to ensure foolproof security along the route and venues where the Chinese vice premier will stay and attend the ceremony.

Along with the Islamabad police, the Rawalpindi police will also perform security duties along the 39.5km route from Islamabad International Airport to the Punjab House.

As per the details, 10 superintendents, 18 security superintendents and 104 Dolphin Force personnel will be part of the security duties. The bomb disposal squad of the police’s special branch will sweep all bridges, culverts, underpasses, nullahs, metro bus stops, and other places along the route before the movement of dignitaries.

No vehicle will be par­ked along the route during the movements and security officials will report any suspected person or vehicles to senior officers.

The security personnel posted along the route will carry reflecting jackets, raincoats, bulletproof helmets and jackets, whistles and torches. Extra security will be ensured at sensitive points identified in the security plan. They will not be allowed to use mobile phones and have to display their official cards at all times.

Policemen will also be deployed on rooftops of high-rise buildings. They will be equipped with binoculars, wireless sets, and G-3 rifles.

A dedicated command and control room has been established by the Islamabad Safe City Authority to supervise security arrangements during the movement and stay of the delegation.__Pakistan Today