–PM stresses need to counter climate change, poverty through Sino-Pak joint efforts
–Urges Chinese investors to take advantage of Pakistan’s liberal economic policies
–President Xi says China will negotiate and sign high-standard free trade agreements with more countries
BEIJING: Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for joint efforts towards addressing impediments on the way to sustainable growth and said that Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) offers a model of partnership, connectivity and shared prosperity.
Addressing the 2nd three-day Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing on Friday, he put forward five points to further expand the BRI.
The prime minister stressed the need for undertaking joint efforts to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change, establishing BRI tourism corridors to promote people-to-people and intercultural understanding, anti-corruption office, poverty alleviation fund and concerted efforts to further liberalise trade and investment flows encouraging the private sector and businesses to collaborate in projects.
The prime minister appreciated the significance of BRI, saying it “marks a new and distinct phase in the onward march of nations in the world along the path of globalisation”.
The prime minister further said that BRI offers a model of collaboration while adding that the presence of so many leaders today is the proof that we choose hope over despair and cooperation over confrontation.
“The presence of so many world leaders today is proof that we choose hope over despair and cooperation over confrontation. 122 states and 49 international organisations have signed onto the BRI’s vision and this is a historic and monumental development,” he pointed out.
PM Imran said that Pakistan is amongst BRI’s earliest and most enthusiastic proponents.
“The BRI offers a model of partnership, collaboration, connectivity and shared prosperity,” the prime minister told the audience. “Pakistan is proud to have partnered with China in this transformative endeavour. We have been among BRI’s earliest and most enthusiastic proponents,” he said.
He said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – one of BRI’s major components – has made substantial progress. He said that it has addressed our energy and infrastructure gaps. He said that Gwadar once a small fishing village is transforming rapidly into a commercial hub.
“CPEC, one of the BRI’s major components ─ and one of its earliest manifestations ─ has made substantial progress. Pakistan’s energy supplies have increased massively, critical infrastructure gaps are being plugged, Gwadar ─ once a small fishing village ─ is transforming rapidly into a commercial hub. Gwadar airport will be the largest in our country,” he told his audience.
The prime minister said that Pakistan and China are entering the next phase of CPEC with focus on socio-economic uplift, poverty alleviation, agricultural cooperation and industrial development. “We are expanding the frontiers of knowledge through deeper cooperation in the fields of education, innovation and technology. Along the length of CPEC, special economic zones to be set up,” he said, adding that both countries are signing the second phase of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to further bolster trade and economic relations.
“Together, Pakistan and China are entering the next phase of CPEC, with greater emphasis on socioeconomic uplift,” he said.
PM Imran said that the economic landscape of Pakistan and the destiny of its people are being changed. He thanked China and its leadership for extending unwavering support to Pakistan. He said that Pakistan-China relations remain strong and unbreakable standing tall in the face of any challenge.
“We are changing Pakistan’s economic landscape and, God willing, the destiny of our people. I want to thank China and its leadership for their unwavering support for Pakistan,” he said.
PM Imran suggested that, as the BRI takes on a more concrete shape, world leaders direct their efforts and focus onto the people of their countries by addressing impediments in the path towards sustainable growth.
He said that Pakistan will continue to work on the basis of mutual respect and equal opportunity with China and other BRI partners for better future of our peoples.
The premier also invited the international investors to make use of Pakistan’s liberal investment regime and participate in the country’s economy especially in the sectors of infrastructure, railways, dams, information technology and manufacturing.
He suggested collaboration on five points: mitigating the adverse effects of climate change by launching an ambitious tree-planting project; establishing a BRI tourism corridor; establishing an office for anti-corruption cooperation; creating a poverty alleviation fund; further trade liberalisation and encouraging private sector investment.
Meanwhile, in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the joint building of BRI has opened up new space for the world’s economic growth.
He said that it has also created a new platform to boost international trade and investment, expand new practices to optimise global economic governance and make new contributions to improving the well-being of people of all countries.
Xi Jinping said that China will negotiate and sign high-standard free trade agreements with more countries.
He said that China will also work with other parties to promote a coalition of sustainable cities and an international coalition for green development under the BRI.
Xi said that China will allow foreign investors to operate businesses in more sectors with controlling or full stake.
Later in the evening, the prime minister attended a welcome banquet hosted by President Xi in honour of world leaders attending the second BRF at the Great Hall in Beijing.
The prime minister arrived in China on Thursday night on a four-day official visit. According to the Foreign Office (FO), he will attend a world leaders’ meeting representing around 38 countries. He will also speak in the first session of the leaders’ meeting, and hold meetings with several heads of states/governments and corporate and business leaders on the sidelines of the BRF.
In addition to participating in BRF, the premier will hold bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. Pakistan and China will also sign several memoranda of understanding and agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse areas.
After the forum, the prime minister will address a Pakistan business and investment forum on April 28. Prominent Pakistani and Chinese businessmen will attend the event.
The prime minister will also participate in the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition along with President Xi and other world leaders.
On the sidelines of the BRF, the premier also held a meeting with World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva.