WORLD / ASIA-PACIFIC
Sister city ties foster in-depth bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and China
Sister cities witness iron brother friendship
Published: May 19, 2021 08:07 PM
May 21 marks the 70th Anniversary of China-Pakistan diplomatic relations. A total of 16 pairs of sister cities have been established between the two countries, whose cooperation officials and scholars believe will enhance the people-to-people exchanges in various industries and education. 

Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque met with Gong Zheng, mayor of Shanghai, on Wednesday in Shanghai Photo: Courtesy of Pakistan Embassy in Beijing

Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque met with Gong Zheng, mayor of Shanghai, on Wednesday in Shanghai Photo: Courtesy of Pakistan Embassy in Beijing

Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque met with Gong Zheng, mayor of Shanghai, on Wednesday in Shanghai, and discussed further enhancing bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, education, science and technology.

Gong briefed the ambassador on Shanghai's successful control and prevention measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the revival of the city's economic growth to pre-pandemic levels. He highlighted that Shanghai will play its role as a bridge between the two countries to further strengthen bilateral relations.

Haque expressed satisfaction at the growing ties between Pakistan and Shanghai in diverse fields. Shanghai will be one of Pakistan's key partners in its ongoing development. Haque called for further enhancing mutual cooperation between the two sides and welcomed more enterprises from Shanghai to invest in Pakistan especially in special economic zones under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Besides Shanghai, Haque has visited other cities including Qingdao, one of the sister cities, in April. 

In the same month, at a new book release ceremony, Haque talked about his trips to different cities in China. "At every stop, people warmly welcomed me and they'd say 'our iron brother' is here," he remarked. 

A gerenal view of Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan Photo: VCG

A gerenal view of Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan Photo: VCG

Shahida Wizarat, a professor and dean at the College of Economics and Social Development at the Institute of Business Management, a private university and business school based in Karachi, Pakistan, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the city level cooperation between China and Pakistan is progressing, although these two years were difficult due to COVID-19 in both the countries. 

"I think sister cities project can be used to promote economic, political, social, and cultural ties between Pakistan and China. This would include promoting trade and investment, cultural exchanges, exchange of athletes, exchange of local government officials, [and] building linkages between universities of the two countries," she said in an email. 

Lin Songtian, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said that the two countries have established 16 pairs of sister cities so far to promote bilateral economic, social, investment, trade, and cultural exchanges, and cooperation.

Lin noted in a media interview that "in 2019, we held a cooperation forum between the two countries' sister cities. The results were gratifying, which enhanced friendly exchanges between the sister cities and promoted mutually beneficial cooperation. In the future, we will continue to promote this institutionalization."

On January 27, Lin met with Haque, agreeing that this year is worthy of grand celebration and commemoration.

Both are willing to take this as an opportunity to strengthen friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation in the areas of local governments, sister cities, media, think tanks, and the youth between the two countries.

"This will help to respond to the challenges that both these countries are faced with. For example, fifth-generation war has been unleashed and without knowledge of science and technology we will not be able to respond to these challenges," Wizarat added.

"Pakistan can learn how to respond to COVID-19 from China, who was able to contain and eliminate the virus successfully."

Pakistan and China have established defense and strategic cooperation to mutual benefit, resulting in the production of the JF 17 Thunder aircraft, which is a state-of-the-art aircraft in great demand internationally. 

"We admire Chinese remarkable successes in science and technology resulting in China landing on Mars. My congratulations to the Chinese leadership and the people on this remarkable achievement! We would like to benefit from Chinese space technology, artificial intelligence, drone technology, [and] nanotechnology," Wizarat said. 

The sister city project has great potential to increase interpersonal exchanges. Take for example the twin cities Urumqi, the capital city of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi. Urumqi is the Belt and Road Initiative's (BRI) core location and its relationship with Karachi can be used to promote tourism. 

Urumqi is very cold in winter and pleasant during summer. Karachi is very pleasant during winter and quite hot and humid during summer. Tourists from Urumqi can go to Karachi for holidays during winters, while tourists from Karachi can go to Urumqi for holidays during summers. 

Meanwhile, she said that interpersonal exchanges between Karachi and Urumqi can also be enhanced through establishing academic linkages between universities in Karachi and Urumqi. There are several universities, medical and dental colleges, business management institutes, social sciences universities, which can establish linkage programs with their counterpart institutions in Urumqi for the mutual benefit of the two cities. 


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