PM likely to visit China next month to attend 2nd Belt & Road Forum | Pakistan Today

PM likely to visit China next month to attend 2nd Belt & Road Forum

–BRI becomes major diplomatic initiative of China’s Foreign Policy

–China adopted innovative diplomatic model under President Xi, says Mushahid Sayed

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to visit China in April to join other foreign heads of state and top governments officials at the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation being held in Beijing.

The BRI, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, has brought countries and regions together through enhanced trade, infrastructure development, investment, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. A total of 152 countries and international organisations have signed cooperation documents with China on the initiative over the past six years, official statistics show.

A well-placed source told Pakistan Today that Prime Minister Imran Khan has been informally invited by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Forum.

“Chinese and Pakistani diplomatic channels have been opened to discuss modalities of the upcoming trip of Prime Minister Imran Khan. In this regard, China’s Minister for Public Security would visit Pakistan this month to formally invite prime minister Imran Khan,” the source said.

China’s State Counselor, also the foreign minister, Mr Wang Yi has revealed that thousands of delegates from over 100 countries are expected to attend the Forum.

Wang Yi says China will fully implement the eight major initiatives announced at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and continuously deepen Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation.

Wang says the BRI is instead an “economic pie” due to which East Africa now has its first expressway, the Maldives has built its first inter-island bridge, Belarus is able to produce sedans and Kazakhstan is connected to the sea. Southeast Asia is constructing a high-speed railway.

“And the Eurasian continent is benefiting from the longest distance freight train service. It is not a geopolitical tool, but a great opportunity for shared development,” Wang Yi says.

Experts believe that China, in the backdrop of a fast changing world, is all set to offer Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) as a major diplomatic and development initiative and Belt and Road Forum would prove to be another milestone in this regard.

CHINESE DIPLOMATIC MODEL:

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, one of the top experts on China, says that the BRI, launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, is the most important diplomatic & Developmental Initiative of the 21st Century.

“The popularity of the BRI stems from the fact that it is inclusive, based on win-win cooperation, with no losers or victors, and promotes connectivity through corridors of commerce and trade,” he added.

Senator Mushahid, also Chairman of Pakistan, China Institute, says that China’s foreign policy model was based on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Thought.

“Xi Jinping Thought was formally enshrined as the principal guideline of China’s foreign policy during the June 2018 major conference on foreign affairs in Beijing. At that Conference, President Xi Jinping told Chinese foreign policy officialdom to ‘have a clear understanding of China’s status and role in the evolving world pattern'”.

Senator Mushahid Hussain told Pakistan Today that this new peaceful model of Chinese diplomacy is in sharp contrast to the US or other western countries who are building barriers to trade, communication and connectivity, or relying on the use of force to resolve issues.

“Basically, this ‘evolving world’ and ‘China’s status and role’ in it need to be viewed in the context of three new global realities. First, the balance of economic and political power is shifting from the West to the East, with the 21st Century viewed as the ‘Asian Century’,” he said and added that China as the world’s second biggest economy is the biggest proponent of globalisation, fuelling 30% of global growth.

Wang Yi says that China will continue to follow a peaceful development path, uphold the existing international system, favor cooperation over confrontation while shouldering more responsibilities, as the country moves closer to the world’s center stage.

“China’s diplomacy has reached a new starting point,” Wang said. “China will surely become stronger but not assertive; China values independence but will not go forward alone; China stands up for its rights but never seeks hegemony.”

Wang Yi also said the fundamental guideline for China’s diplomatic work in the new era is “Xi Jinping thought on diplomacy”, which points the way for navigating through a complex array of issues in today’s world.

“China and the United States stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation,” the state councilor said. The interests of the two countries are indeed inseparable. Bilateral trade surpassed 630 billion U.S. dollars last year, with cumulative bilateral investment reaching 240 billion dollars.

Wang noted the substantial progress made in the ongoing economic and trade consultations.

“We still have a positive outlook on China-U.S. relations. The two countries will not, and should not descend into confrontation,” he said.

“A key part of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy is developing a new path of state-to-state relations featuring dialogue instead of confrontation, partnership instead of alliance,” says Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]



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