Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian addresses the briefing on June 11, 2024, in Beijing. — Screengrab/Chinese Foreign Ministry

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday that an “upgraded version” of the multi-billion project — China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — was the “centre” of bilateral talks with Islamabad during the recent visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian conducted a briefing today in which he responded to the queries regarding “main achievements and highlights” of Premier Shehbaz’s much-anticipated visit to Beijing from June 4 to 8.

It was Shehbaz’s first official visit to China after took over as Prime Minister of Pakistan for the second term, and the Chinese side gave him a high-level reception, Lin Jian said, adding: “President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Qiang and Chairman Zhao Leji met and held talks with him respectively.”

The leaders of the two countries exchanged in-depth views on China-Pakistan relations and issues of common concern and provided strategic guidance for the development of China-Pakistan relations.

President Xi stressed that the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership has been continuously deepened, with a solid public opinion foundation, strong endogenous driving force and broad development prospects.

“China is willing to firmly support Pakistan, tighten the ties of cooperation, deepen strategic coordination, and accelerate the construction of a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era,” said the spokesperson.

The premier said that no force can shake the ironclad friendship between China and Pakistan, and Pakistan will unswervingly be China’s most reliable friend and partner.

Both sides agreed that they would continue to give each other firm support on issues involving their respective core interests and major concerns.

The two sides highly appreciated the positive role of the CPEC in promoting Pakistan’s national development and improving the welfare of the Pakistani people.

Both countries expressed willingness to promote the high-quality joint construction of the “Belt and Road” and Pakistan’s development plan, carry out practical cooperation in various fields in accordance with local conditions.

Pakistan and China also decided to promote the high-quality joint construction of the multi-billion project to go deeper and more practical, with the creation of an “upgraded version” of the CPEC as the centre, so as to better help Pakistan’s economic and social development.

The Pakistani government once again expressed deep condolences to the Chinese personnel who died in the March 26 Dasu terrorist attack, emphasising that it will resolutely crack down on and severely punish the terrorists involved in the case, and take practical and effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel, projects and institutions in Pakistan.

The Pakistani side stated that President Xi’s foresight and outstanding leadership have been sincerely admired and highly praised by the people of Pakistan and the world.

President Xi’s proposal to jointly build the “Belt and Road” initiative and the three major global initiatives with an eye on the well-being of all mankind have provided strategic guidance for promoting world peace, security, development and prosperity, Lian Jian said, adding that Pakistan highly appreciates and fully supports it.

The two sides agreed to continue to strengthen cooperation and coordination within various international multilateral mechanisms, jointly promote an equal and orderly world multipolarisation and inclusive economic globalisation, and jointly safeguard the common interests of the vast number of developing countries and international fairness and justice.

During the visit, the two sides signed 23 cooperation documents on the CPEC, transportation infrastructure, agriculture, industry, intergovernmental assistance, market supervision, geographic surveying and mapping, media, film and television, etc.

PM Shehbaz also visited Shenzhen, Xi’an and other cities. He spoke highly of the achievements made in China’s economic and social development and expressed his willingness to strengthen exchanges of experience in governance with China, the spokesperson concluded.

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