Strategic depth of Pak-China ties reaffirmed
by Mariam Raheem
Mudassir Tipu, Director General China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan presented an extensive overview of multifaceted and broad-based Pak-China bilateral relations on an Online Round-Table held by the China Study Center (CSC), University of Peshawar (UOP) yesterday. The DG underscored that Pakistan-China ties are an anchor for peace and stability in the region. He emphasised that the people of Pakistan must become part of the 70th anniversary celebrations in a spirit to further promote the time-tested bonds that exist between the government and the peoples of Pakistan and China.
He stressed that both countries should continue to deepen their cooperation in fighting Covid-19. He also highlighted China’s support to Pakistan in containing the spread of the pandemic, including through provision of vaccines. “Pakistan and China will further deepen the strategic cooperation and coordination to deal with emerging challenges. Both countries are committed to intensifying their collective efforts to promote peace, stability and economic development.”
Prof. Dr Mohammad Abid Khan, Pro VC, UOP talked about the strong friendly relations between the two countries and his personal bond with China in his welcome remarks. Prof. Zahid Anwar, Director of CSC stated that with every passing moment Pak-China friendship strengthened in the field of defence, economy, science and technology, culture, etc. A convergence of interests is also developed between the two countries on global and regional issues.
Prof. Dr Long Ruijun, Director of China Northwest Office of CN-ICIMOD Lanzhou University (LZU), China said that the relations between China and Pakistan are a model for international relations. Under the framework of BRI and CPEC, Pakistan and China will achieve more success.
“Recently, Gansu province of China has approved budget to support Pakistan and Gansu joint research such as projects related to cold water fish, solar energy, agriculture machinery and disaster management,” Prof. Dr Long added that, “Lanzhou University in Gansu is expert in mountain agriculture and is cooperating with Pakistan in various projects. There are more than 100 Pakistani research students in Lanzhou University. We are cooperating in sustainable development under CPEC.”
Mustafa Hayder Sayed, Executive Director, Pakistan-China Institute emphasised that Pakistan has yet optimised and utilised the opportunity that China is bringing to Pakistan. “We have received many investment projects in terms of road energy that are part of CPEC. 65 % of our population is under the age of 35 and after COVID, 60 % of the Pakistani population is below poverty line. We have a very big problem of poverty and unemployment. The miracle of poverty alleviation took place next door in China. Under CPEC, there should be targeted poverty alleviation campaign the way China has done.” He also stressed the significance of learning from China to develop Special Economic Zones and the problem of balance of trade should be overcome.
Focusing on the trade and economic relations between Pakistan and China, Dr Karam Elahi, Additional Collector Customs, FBR, Pakistan, pointed out that the two states have entered new momentum in the trade after CPEC. China is the leading investor in Pakistan. China is Pakistan's second biggest export market, but it remains Pakistan’s biggest import source. The trade deficit needs attention.