BEIJING   -   Expressing her faith in Pak-China relationship, Pakistan Ambassador to China, Naghmana Hashmi said she is looking forward to deeper cooperation between the two countries through the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

In an exclusive interview with China Focus published on Saturday, Ambassador Hashmi expressed the confidence that Pakistan and China would continue to be strategic cooperative partners, working together for development, peace and harmony.

She said the strength of friendship between the two countries was beyond words. The China-Pakistan friendship has evolved over the past seven decades from good neighbors and friends into strategic partners based on practical cooperation. “We have developed a well-rounded relationship based on mutual trust and respect,” she added.

“In the coming decades, our strong bilateral ties will continue to synergise with emerging regional and global trends for sustainable development and lasting peace,” she added.

Regarding benefits for two friendly countries from Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), she termed the BRI and AIIB initiatives as significant milestones of the new globalism.

“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an extension of BRI. It is inspired by President Xi’s vision of regional connectivity and people-centric development model which fully resonates with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of `Naya Pakistan’, who firmly believes that CPEC is a `game-changer’ not only for Pakistan but the entire region,” she added. She said connecting Gwadar Port to China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, through a network of highways, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas, presents enormous opportunities to people of two countries from Gwadar to Kashgar. About importance of CPEC, she said this corridor is a revival of the ancient Silk route and has become a hallmark of deep friendship between Pakistan and China from 1951 to date.

With CPEC and BRI, Pakistan and China have started a new chapter of friendship that has great potential to contribute to regionalism. “Together, we envisage creating an enabling environment for collective prosperity to promote regional economic integration and cooperation with this mega-project,” she added. Ambassador Hashmi observed in past 70 years, China has tremendously transformed from a poor developing country to the world’s second largest economy.

In the process of opening-up and reform, China has lifted 800 million people out of poverty. It has restored the dignity of its people with provision of basic needs such as clean drinking water, decent work, housing and education. Moreover, it has become a center of research and development, innovation and tech-advancement going towards high-quality products. It is the global champion of “the peoples and the planet” with its leadership in UN’s climate-change agenda and South-South cooperation.  “As one of the five permanent members of UN Security Council, we highly appreciate China’s continued efforts for an equitable and just rule-based global system,” she added.

She said China is leading collective efforts to protect and promote multilateralism and the UN charter and the UN’s peace, security and development agenda. She added that its efforts for regional economic interdependence were likely to overcome geographical constraints for sustainable socio-economic growth and stability for the world. On President Xi Jinping’s concept of “building a community with a shared future for mankind and its meaning for Pakistan, she said President Xi is a great “thought-leader” of present times.

“BRI and CPEC are a testament to our resolve of `leaving no one behind’. It is an agenda to promote human dignity and prosperity through development, to build a `community with a shared future for mankind’ ”, she added.

Ambassador Hashmi said it has also made Pakistan and China viable economic partners for cooperative regional integration with opportunities for South and Central Asia’s rejuvenation. It would open new avenues for economic activity and a trade pathway from China and the Middle East and Africa at large, ultimately benefitting people.

Regarding China’s role for combating protectionism and unilateralism, she opined these were two big challenges the world face today. The stratagem of trade wars, military posturing and regional rivalries were threatening global peace and economic growth. The geopolitical, geo-economic, geostrategic outlooks and 4th Industrial revolution were transforming our globe.

In this context, China was making great contribution for regional development as well as multilateralism. All countries – big or small, developed or developing, must adhere to the principles of cooperation against confrontation. The only way to resolve these problems was through dialogue and China has a great tradition of consultation for fostering understanding, she added.