BEIJING - China promised to support Pakistan's economy on Friday as Prime Minister Imran Khan told of his country's "very difficult" economic situation amid a burgeoning financial crisis.

Meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Imran Khan said he'd come to China to learn. "My party has only been in power for two months. Unfortunately we have inherited a very difficult economic situation," Khan said.

"Countries go in cycles. They have their high points, they have their low points. Unfortunately, our country is going through a low point at the moment with two very big deficits, a fiscal deficit and a current-account deficit. And so we, as I’ve said, have come to learn."

Xi told Khan that he highly valued the two country's relations, reaffirming they were "all-weather" friends. "I attach great importance to China-Pakistan relations and am willing to work together with the prime minister to strengthen the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership and build a new era of China-Pakistan destiny," Xi said. Neither man mentioned any economic aid in comments made in front of reporters.

However, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councilor Wang Yi, told Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a separate meeting that China would not let Pakistan down. "The Chinese side will continue to provide support and help to the best of its ability for Pakistan's economic and social development and national construction," China's Foreign Ministry cited Wang as saying, without giving details.

Khan will meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday (today), when the two countries are expected to sign a series of agreements.

Proposing closer pragmatic cooperation and promotion in trade and investment, President Xi called for consolidating the early results of CPEC and expanding CPEC to areas such as industrial parks and people's livelihood. He also said the two sides should boost people-to-people exchanges, strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation and increase coordination and communication on multilateral platforms such as the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

During the meeting with PM Khan, President Xi reiterated his country's firm commitment to strengthen Pakistan-China Strategic Cooperative Partnership for a shared future and assured his country's steadfast support to Pakistan on all issues of core interest.

This is Prime Minister Imran Khan's first official visit to China on the invitation of President Xi Jinping. The two leaders discussed regional and global issues of mutual interest and agreed to work closely towards overcoming growing political-economic uncertainties. They also reviewed and held in-depth discussions on Pakistan-China bilateral relations.

Khan said Pakistan stood by China in safeguarding mutual interests, shared ideals and promoting multilateralism.

President Xi congratulated Prime Minister Khan on his election and assumption of the office. He conveyed his desire to work with him for strengthening Pakistan-China Strategic Cooperative Partnership for shared future.

Khan thanked the Chinese president, government and the people of China for their warm sentiments. He congratulated them on the 40th anniversary of “Reform and Opening-up”, which has led to China’s meteoric rise.

He said friendship with China was the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy and expressed the earnest desire of his government to further consolidate this relationship.

The prime minister emphasised that President Xi’s vision of connectivity – Belt and Road, and its flagship project CPEC, would translate into a win-win for shared prosperity in the region and beyond.

They reviewed the progress on CPEC, expressed satisfaction on its achievements, and vowed for its early completion to maximise the benefits for Pakistan.

The prime minister extended an invitation to President Xi to visit Pakistan, who accepted the invitation.

He said his government was keen to learn from China’s experience in poverty alleviation and anti-corruption.

Khan said he had followed President Xi as a statesman during his political carrier spanning over 22 years. The prime minister said he had watched other world leaders but the people of Pakistan were very impressed with the way China had progressed under President Xi.

Khan lauded President Xi and other Chinese leadership for bringing down poverty in China and bringing out 700 million people from poverty in 30 years. He said no other nation in human history had been able to achieve this success.

He said the main goal of his party and the government was to take people of Pakistan out of poverty as half of the population in the country was either on or under the poverty line and added, “China is the one country from which we can learn.”

Khan said the way leadership of President Xi had tackled corruption was appreciable and said, “No other nation has held so many powerful people accountable for corruption in the last five years.”

He said his government and party wanted to learn from China in this area because white-collar crime was very difficult to detect. “It is easy to catch low-level criminals but it is much more challenging to expose white-collar crime which actually devastates a country,” he added.

During the meeting, Khan thanked President Xi for extending warm hospitality to him and his delegation in China.

President Xi said relations between China and Pakistan had already been growing and now these had touched new heights. “These relations have not only benefited the two all-weather strategic partners but the region and world.”

He said China was ready to work together with the new government under Prime Minister Imran Khan to build a community of shared destiny for mankind.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan and Pakistan Ambassador to China Masood Khalid were also present during the meeting.

Earlier, President Xi warmly welcomed Prime Minister Khan and his delegation upon their arrival at the Great Hall of the People.



FMs for early realisation of CPEC projects



Pakistan and China on Friday reaffirmed their complete common understanding on early realisation of CPEC projects besides agreeing to continue strategic communication on regional and global issues of importance.

This was reaffirmed during a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing.

The meeting of the two foreign ministers was held in the lead up to the meeting between Prime Minister Khan and President Xi, Foreign Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said in a series of tweets posted on his official twitter handle.

The meeting was held in a spirit of mutual understanding, longstanding friendship, and close cooperation.

Both foreign ministers underscored the importance of the Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership for shared future in the new era, the spokesman said.

They also reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to strategic partnership and underscored taking it to new heights. The two ministers discussed further building the bilateral relationship on the 10-point agenda covering multifaceted practical cooperation.


China promises support to Pakistan’s economy