–China, Pakistan agree to enhance strategic partnership as PM Khan terms it ‘a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy’
–Saudi Arabia says it fully supports Pakistan’s efforts to bring peace, stability in region
Pakistan and China have agreed to enhance strategic partnership in a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday.
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, called on PM Khan at Prime Minister Office in Islamabad a day after he met army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
During the meeting, the Chinese FM underscored the significance of China-Pakistan relationship as he conveyed the desire of Chinese leadership to work with the new Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for further enhancing the strategic partnership between the two countries.
The state councilor congratulated the prime minister on his assumption of the office and expressed the best wishes of the Chinese leadership for the new government.
The Chinese foreign minister underscored the significance of the China-Pakistan relationship which served as a model of friendship in interstate relations. He underscored the significance of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for the mutual benefit of the people of both countries.
During the meeting, PM Khan was conveyed the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for an official visit to China.
PM Khan thanked Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for the good wishes of Chinese leadership. He reiterated that friendship with China was a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
He assured that his government was committed to implement the CPEC.
The prime minister also thanked Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for his congratulatory telephone call and for his message of support to the new government. He recognised the Chinese premier for the invitation to visit China and looked forward to his visit and meetings with the Chinese leadership.
CHINA ‘NOT SADDLING PAKISTAN WITH DEBT’:
The Chinese delegation had met the foreign minister and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday. Matters of regional security and bilateral relations came under discussion.
Rejecting criticism over CPEC projects, the Chinese FM had said on Saturday that both Pakistan and China had agreed to re-prioritise project benefits.
“CPEC has not inflicted a debt burden on Pakistan … when these projects are completed and enter into operation, they will unleash huge economic benefits … creating considerable returns for Pakistan’s economy,” Wang said at a news conference.
‘SAUDI ARABIA FULLY SUPPORTS PAK’:
Saudi Information Minister Dr Awwad Bin Saleh Al-Awwad called on PM Khan on Sunday and conveyed that Saudi Arabia fully supports Pakistan’s efforts to bring peace and stability in the region.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Information Minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry were also present on the occasion.
During the meeting, the two sides also discussed bilateral relations.
The Saudi minister conveyed a message of felicitation to PM Khan on behalf of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and extended an invitation to the PM to visit Saudi Arabia.
Awwad’s meeting with Khan comes a day after he held a meeting with Qureshi during which he conveyed Saudi Arabia’s desire to work with the new government.
Earlier, the Saudi minister called upon the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi.
The visiting minister lauded strong relations between Riyadh and Islamabad and assured Pakistan of full support in its struggle for peace and stability.
In his meeting with Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri, the Saudi minister was asked to increase the quota for Pakistani pilgrims by 40-45,000, besides relaxation of visa policy for people who wished to perform Umrah.
Qadri also requested Saudi government to provide land for Pakistan House near the holy sites in both Makkah and Madina.
The Saudi minister assured Haq that his country will increase the quota of pilgrims in next year’s Haj. He also promised to facilitate pilgrims.
Regarding the provision of land, Awwad said that he would pass the request onto Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and hoped that the matter would be decided once Prime Minister Khan visits Saudi Arabia.
On Saturday, the Saudi minister had called upon Pakistani FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi. In a tweet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal shared that Saudi information minister conveyed Saudi leadership’s desire to work closely with the PTI government to attain “true potential of bilateral relations”.
FM Qureshi stressed for enhanced economic relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The foreign minister also invited Saudi investors to invest in Pakistan.