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Shehbaz all set to boost China-Pakistan ties
By Anzal Amin  ·  2024-06-03  ·   Source: The Daily Mail, Pakistan

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is set to undertake a four-day visit to China following an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping, announced the Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson on May 31. 

During the weekly news briefing, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said the premier will tour the cities of Xi'an and Chengdu before heading to Beijing for delegation-level talks with Chinese Premier Li Qiang. 

She maintained that the agenda included meetings with the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) Chairman Zhao Leji and heads of key government departments. 

The FO spokesperson said the frequent visits between the two countries were evidence of their "iron-clad" friendship. She added that discussions would focus on strengthening the "all-weather strategic partnership", up-grading the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, enhancing bilateral trade, and expanding cooperation in various sectors including space, energy, science and technology, and education.  

He directed the relevant authorities to create strategies aimed at attracting Chinese industries to establish their operations in Pakistan, assuring them of the government's complete support and facilitation. 

The delegation is scheduled to engage in discussions with the Chinese business community to foster business-to-business connections between Pakistan and China. 

The PM urged Pakistan's ambassador to China to provide comprehensive assistance to the Pakistani business delegation during their visit. 

The FO spokesperson highlighted several bilateral dialogues conducted over the past week. 

On May 29, the 4th Round of Bilateral Political Consultations between Pakistan and Greece was held in Athens. Ambassador Shafquat Ali Khan headed the Pakistani delegation, while the Greek side was represented by the director general of political affairs. 

The FO spokesperson said both parties affirmed their commitment to advancing high-level dialogue and cooperation. 

Simultaneously, in New York, Pakistan and Saint Lucia formalized diplomatic ties at a ceremony held at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations (UN). 

The spokesperson maintained that the agreement to establish diplomatic relations was signed by Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Munir Akram, and his counterpart from Saint Lucia. 

Earlier in the week, on May 27, the 6th Round of Pakistan-Hungary bilateral political consultation was held in Budapest. 

Ambassador Shafquat led the Pakistani delegation, while the Hungarian side was led by the deputy state secretary. 

The FO spokesperson noted that over the past three years, Pakistan has established diplomatic ties with Palau, Kiribati, the Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the Commonwealth of Dominica. She emphasized that this decision reflects Pakistan's firm commitment to enhancing diplomatic outreach and expanding cooperation with countries worldwide. 

Meanwhile, the Chinese foreign ministry said that China looks forward to the visit of PM Shehbaz, taking it as an opportunity to promote greater joint development. 

Spokesperson Mao Ning at her regular briefing said that the official visit would boost the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership and build a closer community of destiny in the new era. 

In Beijing, she said, the leadership of two countries would have an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and issues of common concern, and jointly plan the blueprint for the future development of China-Pakistan relations. 

Mao Ning pointed out that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners and "iron-clad" friends. China-Pakistan friendship has been tested by the winds and clouds of the times, and is as solid as a rock and as stable as Mount Tai, she added. 

"China and Pakistan have had close high-level exchanges in recent years, and bilateral practical cooperation has been steadily advancing, with fruitful results in the high-quality construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor," she said. "The two sides have maintained good communication and coordination in international and regional affairs." 

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