70 years of friendship, and counting

Updated: March 17, 2021 Source: China Daily
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The strong bond between China and Pakistan has been further enhanced during the pandemic

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi attended a virtual ceremony on March 2 to formally commence the anniversary celebrations.

China-Pakistan ties have developed into an outstanding model of relations between countries with different social systems, histories and cultures over the past seven decades.

Since diplomatic relations were officially established in 1951, the friendship between the two countries has remained rock-solid no matter how the regional and international landscapes have evolved. They have always supported each other on issues involving their respective core interests and major concerns, and forged an ironclad bond.

It is under the careful cultivation of the leaders of the two countries that the friendship between China and Pakistan has grown into a towering tree with vitality and deep roots. President Xi Jinping made a historic visit to Pakistan in 2015, promoting bilateral relations to the level of All-weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership. Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has visited China three times since taking office, and has held four meetings with President Xi, fully demonstrates that the Pakistani government has put China at its foremost and central position in developing foreign relations.

During China's fight against the COVID-19 at the beginning of 2020, Pakistan immediately donated medical materials to China, and all walks of life in the country voiced their support for China and opposed politicizing the pandemic and stigmatizing China.

When COVID-19 cases surged in Pakistan, groups of Chinese medical experts as well as batches of medical supplies have been sent to assist the country. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is proceeding uninterruptedly, with no jobs cut and no staffs withdrawn, which has helped stabilize Pakistan's economy and promoted people's livelihoods.

In order to support Pakistan's fight against the second wave of the pandemic, the Chinese government and the Chinese military each donated 500,000 vaccine doses to Pakistan. Pakistan was the first country to receive COVID-19 vaccines donations from both the Chinese government and military.

The past 70 years has proved that China-Pakistan friendship and cooperation are not only in the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, but also conducive to maintaining regional and world peace, stability and development.

The two sides should continue to firmly support each other.

China will continue to develop its relations with Pakistan from a strategic and long-term perspective, and give Pakistan priority in diplomacy. China will never forget Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognize the People's Republic of China, and was among the countries backing China's efforts in restoring its lawful seat in the United Nations, and provide valuable assistance in China's reform and opening-up.

The Chinese side will maintain high-level exchanges with Pakistan, always support Pakistan in safeguarding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and help it play a more constructive role in international and regional affairs.

Since the CPEC was launched, China has become Pakistan's largest trading partner for six consecutive years and its largest source of investment for seven consecutive years. The CPEC has brought $25.4 billion in direct investment to Pakistan and created 75,000 jobs for the country at its peak. It is a demonstration of high quality development under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

China will continue to further develop the economic corridor linking the two countries, vigorously support Pakistan's industrialization, help increase employment and expand exports, and accelerate its integration into the international industrial chain.

As the protocol of the second phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement has come into effect, the trade liberalization between the two countries has been greatly improved, and China stands ready to deepen economic and trade cooperation with Pakistan.

China will provide greater convenience for Pakistan's exports to China, strive to narrow the trade deficit, and seek balanced development of bilateral trade.

Both sides should join hands to address security risks. The security interests of China and Pakistan are closely related. The two countries have continuously deepened cooperation in fields such as defense, security and anti-terrorism, making great contributions to regional and international peace and stability.

China will continue to support Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts by helping the country improve its anti-terrorism and security capabilities and ability to better address non-traditional security threats. China will also provide reliable security guarantees for economic cooperation and mutual development between the two countries.

China will build a bridge of friendship and partnership between the two peoples. The cooperation in the fields of art, broadcasting, film and television, publishing and sports is progressing well. A series of activities, such as the Year of Friendly Exchanges between Pakistan and China in 2015, and the Year of Sister-City Exchanges in 2019, have all contributed to people-to-people exchanges.

More and more Pakistani students are studying in China, and many of them have become the backbone of China-Pakistan friendship. Both countries will host more wonderful and various cultural exchanges, strengthen ties at the levels of provinces and cities, continue to support cooperation in higher education, and boost cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

This year is a milestone for both sides. For China, it marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and is the first year of China's 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25). For Pakistan, the country is making every effort to develop its economy and realize Prime Minister Imran Khan's vision of "Naya Pakistan", which provides the two countries with new opportunities to promote their cooperation.

It is believed that with the joint efforts of the two sides, the China-Pakistan All-weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership will surely reach a new height, and forge ahead in building a China-Pakistan community with a shared future.

Editor: 王予