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China pledges to stand by Pakistan ‘FOREVER’

China has vowed to standby Pakistan ‘forever’ amid Islamabad’s tension with the United States and India.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif and Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan are in China to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s ministers meetings aimed at preparing for the SCO heads of state and governments Qingdao summit to be held in June 2018.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that the meetings on the sidelines with the Chinese leaders had been very successful, giving a strong message to both the US and India.

“China has assured us (Pakistan) that it will never ditch Pakistan and will remain with Islamabad forever. This is a good message as we confront diplomatic challenges,” one official said.

Another official said China had given the much-needed cushion to Pakistan amid testing times. “We are confronting India and have tense ties with the US. At this time, China’s support is very helpful,” he added.

A foreign ministry’s statement issued here said Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif and Wang Qishan, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China held a meeting in Beijing yesterday.

“Foreign Minister said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, was making good progress and several projects have either been completed or are under implementation. He said that the CPEC will not only contribute to economic development of Pakistan but also have a salutary effect on the development of the region,” it said.

Vice President Wang stressed that Pakistan-China relations were all weather and a model in inter-state relations. He reaffirmed China’s support to Pakistan’s independence and sovereignty and its counter-terrorism efforts and stated that China will continue to contribute to Pakistan’s economic development.

He appreciated Pakistan’s active participation in the SCO and looked forward to participation of the President of Pakistan in the SCO Qingdao Summit to be held in June 2018, said the statement.

The Foreign Minister and Vice President discussed various bilateral, regional and global issues and agreed to continue strategic communications between Pakistan and China on all issues, the statement said.

Asif also met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. In the meeting, the two sides exchanged in-depth views on all matters of mutual concern. The foreign minister appreciated the vibrant role of SCO in the region as a significantly vital forum for regional cooperation.

The minister underlined Pakistan’s support to China’s active chairmanship of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in 2017-2018. Pakistan looks forward to a productive and fruitful meeting of Heads of State of SCO to be held in Qingdao in June 2018.

The foreign minister also appreciated the Chinese initiative for Pakistan-China-Afghanistan Foreign Ministers’ Trilateral Mechanism for enhancing cooperation with Afghanistan. He also apprised him of the grave situation prevailing in the Indian-occupied Kashmir.

State Councilor Wang Yi said that Pakistan and China were close friends and all-weather strategic cooperative partners. He appreciated Pakistan’s active participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and all its mechanisms. He expressed China’s strong support for Pakistan’s contribution to enhancing regional peace and cooperation and its relentless and tireless efforts in countering terrorism.

Both sides agreed to enhance and further deepen their bilateral cooperation and pledged to play a key role in regional stability through the SCO and its forums.

Meanwhile, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe Tuesday said China and Pakistan defence and military cooperation was the pillar of all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

He made these remarks while talking to visiting Khurram Dastgir in a meeting held in Beijing.

Wei Fenghe said China supported Pakistan’s stance over longstanding Kashmir issue, which was pending unresolved for the last 70 years.

He said all-weather partnership and the defence military cooperation between the two countries helped maintain a strategic balance in the region. Dastgir discussed ways and means to further strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries.

He also briefed the Chinese defence minister about the latest situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir and massive human rights violations by Indian troops against the innocent Kashmiris.

The Chinese minister acknowledged the unprecedented sacrifices made by the armed forces and people of Pakistan during the ongoing fight against the menace of terrorism.


SCO MINISTERS DISCUSS DEEPENING OF RELATIONS

Eight foreign ministers from member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) met on Tuesday to discuss further deepening multilateral relations.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi presided over the meeting. Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Secretary-General of the SCO and Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure attended the meeting.

The meeting focused on international and regional issues that concern all parties and preparations for the SCO Leaders' Summit in June in east China's Qingdao city.

The foreign ministers agreed to coordinate closely and to speak in a unified voice on major international and regional issues, pledging to offer solutions for security and coordinated efforts.

They reaffirmed that peaceful political process is the only way to solve the Syria issue and that Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity must be ensured and maintained.

They agreed the Astana process, the Syrian talks in Geneva and the intra-Syria talks in Sochi have made significant contributions to promote a political settlement in Syria.

The ministers expressed their deep concern about the missile strike to Syria, carried out by the three permanent members of the UN Security Council on April 14, 2018.

They also agreed that SCO member states would step up in connecting China's Belt and Road Initiative with each country's development plan.

Speaking at the meeting, China’s FM said the SCO has agreed on 14 resolutions, and most of them will be signed during the Qingdao Summit.

They include the declaration of the SCO member countries, a long-term treaty of friendship among neighbouring countries, an outline of plans for the next five years, and cooperation from many other perspectives, Wang said.

Wang emphasised to further advocate the "Shanghai Spirit", which will be a highlight of the June's SCO Qingdao summit. He pointed the success of the SCO lies in its underlying principle of the "Shanghai Spirit".

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