BEIJING   -    A total of six MoUs and agreements were signed between Pakistan and China at the conclusion of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s second visit to China.

The PM, who was in Beijing on a four-day visit to attend the 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF), also met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping on Sunday. The signing ceremony was witnessed by PM Imran and Premier Li.

The most important accords signed on the occasion were the Second Phase of the Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement, which aims at enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries, and the declaration for completion of phase-I initial design for upgradation of Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar train track (ML-1) and establishment of Havelian dry port under CPEC.

Other agreements and MoUs included those related to economic and technical cooperation between the two countries, cooperation in marine sciences, and implementation of socio-economic development projects under JWG of CPEC.

Rashakai SEZ joint venture and licence agreement between KPEZMDC and CRBC was also signed. Besides these state level agreements, 16 MoUs and agreements were signed between Pakistani and Chinese companies during the investment forum.

Khan- Li meeting

Before signing of the agreements, Prime Minister Imran Khan held a bilateral meeting with Premier Li Keqiang at the conclusion of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF). The two prime ministers were accompanied by ministers and senior officials during the meeting.

They reaffirmed the time-tested and strong friendship between Pakistan and China and exchanged views on the myriad facets of bilateral engagement, especially the collaboration in the context of CPEC and prospects of further deepening economic linkages.

PM Khan extended felicitations to the Chinese leadership on the successful holding of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF). Noting the depth and breadth of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), he said it was of immense significance for the world in terms of connectivity and shared prosperity.

The prime minister underscored the importance of CPEC for Pakistan’s economy and noted with satisfaction its expansion into new areas of development – including industrial development, livelihood projects, social uplift, and agriculture – in line with the priorities of his government. He hoped that Chinese investment in Specialized Economic Zones (SEZs) would expand Pakistan’s industrial base and assist in diversifying its export basket.

Underlining the steady growth of bilateral cooperation since Khan’s last visit to China in November 2018, Premier Li Keqiang expressed satisfaction at the positive momentum of CPEC projects. He hoped that the conclusion of the Second Phase of China-Pakistan FTA would further boost their trade and economic relations.

The two sides agreed to further deepen cooperation in diverse fields including politics, security, economy, education, science and technology, culture, and people-to-people relations. It was agreed to maintain the existing momentum of high level exchanges between the two countries.

The two leaders also exchanged views on regional issues including peace efforts in Afghanistan and peace and stability in South Asia. They agreed to closely coordinate in their endeavours.


Khan-Xi meeting

In his meeting with President Xi Jinping here on Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed Pakistan’s unflinching commitment to China Pakistan Economic Corridor and congratulated President Xi on the successful convening of the 2nd BRF.

The two leaders were accompanied by ministers and senior-level delegations during the meeting held at Great Hall of the people. They reaffirmed ‘all-weather strategic cooperative partnership’ between Pakistan and China and exchanged views on the entire gamut of bilateral relations in a warm and cordial atmosphere.

Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked President Xi for the warm and gracious welcome accorded to him in China and for China’s steadfast support to Pakistan on all issues. He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s support to China on all issues of its core interest.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s unflinching commitment to CPEC, the prime minister highlighted CPEC’s next phase and its extension into new areas of agriculture, industrial development, and socio-economic uplift with livelihood projects.

President Xi Jinping reiterated China’s unwavering support to Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and appreciated the government’s agenda for socio-economic development and people-centred progress. He affirmed that China-Pakistan ties would continue to acquire greater strength and deepen practical cooperation in the time to come.

The two sides also exchanged views on the regional situation, especially in Afghanistan and South Asia. President Xi expressed China’s appreciation for Pakistan’s sustained and successful efforts in the fight against terrorism and towards creation of a peaceful environment.

Both sides expressed satisfaction over the close cooperation between the two countries at multilateral fora and resolved to further deepen communication and coordination at all levels. They also agreed to keep the momentum of high-level exchanges between the two countries.


 Speeding up the trains!

Pakistan and China yesterday signed an agreement for the expansion and reconstruction of existing Karachi-Lahore Peshawar (ML-1) railway track. The document was signed by Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Chinese Envoy to Pakistan Yao Jing.

In a statement from Beijing, Sheikh Rashid said it is a great day in history of Pakistan Railways as he said that under this project a double track from Peshawar to Karachi will be laid. The minister said speed of train on the new track will be 160 kilometre per hour.

According to the project details available on CPEC website, the entire track of 1,872 kms would be doubled and a computerised signalling and control system would be installed. The speed of passenger trains would be raised from the existing range of 65-110km/h to 160 km/h. However, the freight trains would operate at 120 km/h.