With eye on aid, PM Khan meets Chinese counterpart

Before traveling to China - one of Pakistan's firmest allies - Khan said he was striving to obtain financial aid from two unnamed countries after Pakistan secured $6 billion in funding from Saudi Arabia.

The joint statement also touched upon China's backing for Pakistan to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a group of countries that control trade in nuclear technology; Beijing has repeatedly prevented India from joining the NSG.

The CPEC has also become a major irritant in India-China relations with New Delhi voicing its opposition to the infrastructure project as it traverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Beijing appeared trying to enhance its image in Pakistan even at the cost of affecting the "Wuhan spirit" of mutual friendship with India that emerged during the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping last April.

He said that the main goal of his party and the government was to take people of Pakistan out of poverty as half of the population in the country was either on or under the poverty line.

For his part, Khan said with the continuous deepening of the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, the relations between the two countries at all levels are becoming stronger.

The Chinese official said he believed all these activities and number of agreements signed between the two countries showed that this had been a smooth and successful visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China. "If there were, it would only be to increase [them], not decrease" he said.

"Thirty years ago, China's GDP was the same as Pakistan's is today and the way in which China changed itself in 30 years is something I want Pakistani scholars to study because it was not one thing, it was a series of things", he said.

The issue did not come up in opening remarks between Li and Khan.

During Khan's visit to China, the two sides will issue a joint statement to send an important signal to the world that China and Pakistan are committed to promoting a better and faster development of bilateral ties, according to Li. "Unfortunately we have inherited a very hard economic situation", Khan said.

The prime minister extended an invitation to President Xi Jinping to visit Pakistan, which was accepted.

"On counter-terrorism, Beijing conveyed its "...support to Pakistan's commitment and efforts to counter terrorism, assured Pakistan of its support in implementing its counter-terrorism strategy, and commended the tremendous sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation in fight against terrorism and for Pakistan's enormous contribution to regional and worldwide peace and security through its achievements and successes".

They reviewed the progress on CPEC, expressed satisfaction on its achievements, and vowed for its early completion to maximise the benefits for Pakistan. "It is easy to catch low-level criminals but it is much more challenging to expose white-collar crime which actually devastates a country", he added. "But on the issue of Kashmir, China's position is clear cut. In this context, China supports Pakistan's engagement with the NSG and welcomes its adherence of NSG Guidelines", it added.

Upon arrival at the Great Hall of the People, the Chinese Prime Minister accorded warm welcome to PM Imran and an official welcome ceremony was held during which a guard of honour was presented to the Pakistani prime minister.

  • David Armstrong