China will always stand by Pakistan’s “core interests” no matter how the international landscape changes, visiting Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan has said as he cited the USD 60 billion CPEC as the manifestation of their all-weather relationship. Addressing a meeting on Sunday organised by the Pakistan-China Institute (PCI), the senior Chinese leader said the world was passing through a time of major developments and transformation.
The situation, he emphasised, had been further complicated by traditional and non-traditional challenges and conflict between opposing schools of thought and culture. “No matter how the international landscape changes, China will always stand by Pakistan’s core interests, and both Pakistan and China have made the right choice based on equality and mutual benefit,” Wang said.
Wang, a member of the politburo of the ruling Communist Party of China, said that the spirit of the Silk Road binds the two countries together with a common heritage and history. He also appreciated the success of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and said that the second phase of the project would even bring more benefits for both Pakistan and China.
The CPEC, launched in 2015, is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China’s resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea. “The CPEC has come a long way over the past five years. The CPEC is rapidly extending to new priority areas including industrial parks and livelihoods,” he said.
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The Chinese leader said that China and Pakistan were all-weather strategic partners. He recalled Pakistan’s support for China at “critical moments” and said that his country always supported Pakistan to achieve core interests. He said that the CPEC was a manifestation of their collaborative relations.
Wang also referred to the international situation and said that despite challenges, the way forward is globalisation, free trade and people-to-people connectivity. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the CPEC was a binding force between Pakistan and China. Citing the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China for the Belt and Road Forum, he praised the CPEC for contributing to the progress of Pakistan.