We emphatically endorse the spirit and philosophy of BRI, a number of activities planned to mark its 10th anniversary: Pakistani Ambassador
Published: May 21, 2023 07:40 PM
Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque Photo: Courtesy of the Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing

Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque Photo: Courtesy of the Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing

We emphatically endorse the spirit and philosophy of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which seeks to transcend national boundaries and lay bridges for win-win cooperation, common development, and closer economic integration for a shared future, Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque told the Global Times in an exclusive interview.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of BRI. Pakistan is one of the earliest supporters of and participants in the BRI. One flagship project of the cooperation between China and Pakistan is CPEC.

While fully aligning with the national development agenda of Pakistan, CPEC has been the key to Pakistan's socio-economic development.

According to the ambassador, in its first phase, CPEC has helped Pakistan develop major transport infrastructure and address the country's essential energy needs. CPEC investment and its resultant effects have generated thousands of jobs. The once-arid fishing village of Gwadar has been transformed into a fully functional and operational port. In the next phase, CPEC is set to focus more on socio-economic development, agricultural cooperation, and industrialization.

The ambassador elaborated that China-Pakistan leadership in conjunction with cooperation among relevant institutions from the two sides will fuel the momentum of high-quality development of CPEC.

The two sides also plan to organize a number of activities this year to mark the 10th anniversary of BRI and CPEC development.

"On this occasion, I would also like to acknowledge the wonderful role and valuable contributions of the Chinese companies and workers from both countries who worked tirelessly even during the COVID-19 pandemic toward the smooth and timely implementation of key CPEC projects," he said.

In May, China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang made his inaugural visit to Pakistan, as part of recent important, and close interactions between the high levels of government in both China and Pakistan. During the visit, Qin attended the fifth China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue in Islamabad, Pakistan on May 6. Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari chaired the dialogue, and Acting Foreign Minister of the Afghan Interim Government Amir Khan Muttaqi was also in attendance.

During the dialogue, Qin emphasized that China is ready to strengthen counter-terrorism and security cooperation with Afghanistan and Pakistan, uphold the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security, firmly oppose any form of terrorism, reject supporting or using terrorism and "double standards" in fighting against terrorism, and strengthen cooperation efforts in combating terrorism. The three parties should strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism and security affairs under regional multilateral frameworks including the mechanism of coordination and cooperation among Afghanistan's neighbouring countries.

Qin expressed his hope that Afghanistan and Pakistan will further strengthen safety and security measures for Chinese nationals, institutions, and projects.

During the interview, the Pakistani diplomat pointed out that Qin's first official visit to Pakistan took place "at a crucial time when we are witnessing unprecedented changes in the geo-political landscape of the globe and the region."

"Both our countries enjoy high level mutual trust at the political and institutional level and Qin's visit to Islamabad reflected the strategic nature of our partnership and the fraternal bonds of friendship between our two countries and their peoples."

In addition to CPEC, both sides also discussed cooperation in the areas of agriculture, industrialization, science and technology, IT, renewable energy, and post-flood reconstruction, as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest, he said.

Talking about the Afghan issue, Haque said that Pakistan fully supports a peaceful, secure, and stable Afghanistan. Peace and stability in Afghanistan is not only crucial for the future progress, prosperity, and development of Afghanistan, but also for the neighboring countries and the broader region.

He stressed that cooperation among Afghanistan's neighboring is of vital importance. Both Pakistan and China are strong advocates for a regional approach and actively participation in various regional mechanisms including the SCO, the neighboring countries format, and the Pakistan-China-Afghanistan trilateral format.

"Pakistan appreciates all the efforts made by China to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. Pakistan and China have always maintained close coordination on issues related to Afghanistan," he noted.

During the trilateral meeting in Pakistan, the three parties agreed to uphold good-neighborliness and friendship, deepen political mutual trust, respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, properly handle conflicts and differences through equal consultation, oppose interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs, reject illegal unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan, and object to all acts that undermine regional peace and stability.

The three parties agreed to restart the dialogue mechanism under the framework of the Foreign Ministers' dialogue, and strengthen exchanges and cooperation in such fields as economy, trade, agriculture, poverty reduction, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges, advance Belt and Road cooperation, support the extension of CPEC to Afghanistan, promote connectivity among the three countries and the region, and improve the cross-border trade system, with a view to enhance economic integration among the three countries and achieving sustainable development, according to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.