PM prepares for all important China visit

The Nation  |  Sep 26, 2022

ISLAMABAD    -   Prime Min­ister Sheh­baz Sharif is prepar­ing for an all important Chi­na visit after a seem­ingly successful visit to the United States where he participated in the United Nations Gener­al Assembly session and held important bilateral meetings including those with the US leaders.

His meeting with US President Joe Biden was particularly described as positive. PM Sharif also appreciated the US support amid the ongo­ing flood destruction in the country.

Just before flying to the US, PM Sharif had attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organi­sation meeting in Sa­markand, Uzbekistan. On the sidelines of the SCO meeting, the PM held talkPresident Xi Jinping and Rus­sian President Vladimir Putin among others.

In those meetings, the sides agreed to enhance cooperation and PM Sharif also pledged to visit China and Russia on the invitation from the respective leaders. These will be very im­portant visits keeping in mind the US tension with both the powers.

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In Beijing, PM Sharif is expect­ed to brief President Xi Jinping about the progress on the Chi­na-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and the flood situation apart from the regional and in­ternational situation.

Pakistan-China relations started in 1950 when Pakistan was among the primary nations to recognize the People’s Re­public of China. Since that point, both nations have set signifi­cant significance on the steady extraordinary relationship.

The two nations have routine­ly traded high-level visits com­ing about in an assortment of understandings. The PRC has always given financial and spe­cialized help to Pakistan, and each nation considers the other a near key partner.

Sharif has been close to the Chinese leadership. His older brother Nawaz Sharif – a three-time Prime Minister – too en­joyed good ties with Beijing and claims credit for CPEC.

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Shehbaz Sharif worked to­gether with China even as the chief minister of Punjab and so many Chinese leaders describe him as ‘Punjab speed’ – refer­ring to his commitment to com­plete development projects at good pace.

Close aides of PM Sharif say the premier is upbeat about the November visit to China and ex­pects to cement the ties further.

Pakistan and China have sev­eral consultations mechanisms including strategic dialogue at foreign ministers’ level, politi­cal consultations at foreign sec­retary/vice-minister level; con­sultations on South Asia, arms control, counter-terrorism; hu­man rights, peacekeeping, mar­itime dialogue, border man­agement consultations, and consular affairs.

Pakistan-China defence col­laboration forms the backbone of the relationship. The cooper­ation spans high-level military exchanges, structured defence and security talks, joint exer­cises, training of personnel in each other’s institutions, joint defence production and de­fence trade.

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The militaries of the two countries have institution­alised three tiers of bilateral consultations to enable close cooperation at all levels. There is an extensive range of coop­eration, including joint ven­tures, for the production of military equipment, aircraft, submarines and tanks. China is also the recipient of the largest number of military training of­ficials from Pakistan.

China is currently Pakistan’s largest single trading partner; while Pakistan is China’s sec­ond largest trading partner in South Asia.

Major imports from China in­clude machinery and mechani­cal appliances, metals, chemical products, mineral ores, plastic scrap and transport equipment. Main exports include cotton yarn, cotton fabric, rice, leather and fish products.

In recent years, the bilater­al trade volume between Chi­na and Pakistan has increased rapidly with stable commodity structure. However, despite ro­bust investment from China, bi­lateral trade remains anemic.

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China’s imports from Paki­stan reflect a downward trend whereas China’s exports to Pa­kistan are on an upward tra­jectory. Bilateral trade, which stood at $ 1.3 billion in 2002, reached $ 19.08 billion in 2018. Imports from China stood at $ 12.7 billion and exports from Pakistan to China at $ 1.85 bil­lion in 2019.s with Chinese 

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