Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan traveled to China on Thursday for a four-day official visit to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing and meet with the country’s top leaders, including the President Xi Jinping.
Khan’s visit marks the culmination of celebrations commemorating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between two all-time allies.
A high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, National Security Adviser Moeed Yousaf, trade adviser Abdul Razak Dawood and special assistant on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Khalid Mansoor, accompany Khan on the trip.
In addition to attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, Khan is due to meet with President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang and the two sides will review the full range of bilateral relations, particularly highlighting the focus on strengthening trade and economic cooperation, including multi-billion dollar cooperation. one-dollar CPEC project, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.
China has now launched a diplomatic offensive to mobilize world leaders to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on February 4, while the United States, the European Union and several Western countries have announced a boycott of the event by their diplomats to highlight alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including the incarceration of more than one million Uyghur Muslim men and women in camps.
According to the list released by China, 32 world leaders, including Khan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, will attend the ceremony.
Prior to departure, accompanying ministers described Khan’s visit to China as of great significance.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said Khan’s meeting with Chinese leaders would focus on bilateral strategic partnership, regional issues and peace and security in South Asia.
Finance Minister Tarin said Khan would propose that Chinese leaders relocate industry to Pakistan’s special economic zones for a win-win situation in addition to expanding aid to agriculture.
NSA Yousaf said the visit would be an opportunity to discuss ways to improve peace in Afghanistan to end terrorism, while trade adviser Dawood said the meetings would focus on certain areas of the deal free trade and trade in cement, rice, fruit and vegetables.
Information Minister Chaudhry said Khan’s China tour will further strengthen bilateral relations between Pakistan and China.
“The relationship between Pakistan and China is deeper than the oceans and higher than the Himalayas,” the minister was quoted as saying by Geo News.
The prime minister will also hold meetings with Chinese investors and businessmen on the sidelines of the tour, in addition to meeting with the president and prime minister, he said.
The Pakistani government hopes Khan’s trip to China will reinvigorate the CPEC project.
“Twenty-one different sectors have been identified for discussion with the Chinese leadership,” Information Minister Chaudhry told the Dawn newspaper on Wednesday after attending a series of meetings chaired by Khan at the Prime Minister’s House.
The sectors that will be discussed during Khan’s visit are related to the special economic zones established under the CPEC, trade, information technology, agriculture and the relocation of massive Chinese industries to Pakistan, according to the report.
There has been a general impression that the CPEC has slowed down since the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) came to power three years ago. However, the government expects the Prime Minister’s upcoming visit to give a boost to the projects that are either being implemented or have yet to be launched under the CPEC.
The CPEC is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking the resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to Pakistan’s strategic port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.
The project was launched in 2015 when Chinese President Xi visited Pakistan and he now plans to invest more than $60 billion in different development projects in Pakistan.
India has opposed the CPEC as it is set up across Pakistani-occupied Kashmir.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)