BEIJING: Prime Minister Imran Khan landed in Beijing on Thursday on a four-day official visit during which he would join other global leaders attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics set to be conducted on Friday.
Accompanied by a high-level group, including federal cabinet members, the PM will meet the Chinese leadership.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Khalid Mansoor are all part of the delegation.
On his arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport, the PM was met by Assistant Foreign Minister of China Wu Jianghao. Pakistan’s Ambassador in Beijing Moeen-ul-Haq and other diplomatic officials were also present.
Besides attending the ceremony of Beijing Winter Olympics, PM Khan will also meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. During the meeting, they will address the means of further developing bilateral trade and economic cooperation, notably the CPEC framework, plus they will discuss regional and international concerns.
Besides virtual exchanges with major Chinese business executives, leading think tanks, academics and media, additional bilateral encounters are also on the Prime Minister’s itinerary during the visit.
The administration expects that PM Khan’s visit would strengthen the CPEC project. “Twenty-one distinct areas have been highlighted to be addressed with the Chinese leadership,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Dawn on Wednesday after attending a series of meetings convened by Imran Khan at the Prime Minister House.
The areas to be covered during the PM’s visit pertain to special economic zones developed under CPEC, commerce, information technology, agriculture, and the migration of leading Chinese businesses to Pakistan.
This is the Prime Minister’s fourth trip to China as he made the last visit in October 2019. Prior to his visit, Prime Minister Khan ordered the elimination of red tape hampering the Chinese investment in Pakistan, while ending 37 laws to enable one-window operation for international businesses.
Pakistan and China helped one other in their battle against the Covid-19 epidemic and pushed forward the high-quality development of CPEC. Beijing has spent over $25 billion in Pakistan on CPEC projects creating 80,000 jobs, producing 5500MW of power and developing over 500km of roads.
Covid-19 pandemic collaboration between Pakistan and China has been remarkable. In March 2020, President Dr Arif Alvi visited China to show support with the Chinese people, as anti-Chinese sentiments rose amid COVID spread.
Pakistan has been an early supporter and participant in President Xi Jinping’s Belt Road initiative (BRI). CPEC is a vital component of the Pakistani government’s plan to achieve economic independence through the BRI.
As of November 2021, China’s non-financial direct investments in BRI states amounted to $17.99 billion, an increase of 12.7 percent over the same period last year.
CPEC is a game-changing initiative. More than $25.4 billion has been invested in the 46 early harvest initiatives that have been started or completed, providing 80,000 local employment.