Ahsan Iqbal Leads 6-member delegation to China

Islamabad, June 24, 2013 (PPI-OT): A six-member delegation led by Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning and Development visited Beijing to discuss Pakistan-China economic cooperation and development of Pakistan-China Trade and Economic Corridor.

Members of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Economic Corridor, Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and Ms. Nargis Sethi, Secretary Economic Affairs Division accompanied the Minister.

The delegation held detailed talks at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China to discuss on how to implement the vision of the leadership of two countries of enhancing and reinforcing the existing strategic relationship between them to a higher level.

Mr. Ahsan Iqbal highlighted the importance attached by the new government to friendship with China and to translating traditional, cordial relations into robust win-win economic cooperation. He said that the initiatives under consideration offer them an opportunity to integrate four growth engines of Asia i.e. China, South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East into a formidable regional economic bloc and thus create massive growth opportunities for more than three billion people of the region.

He added that such a venture would be a “game changer” for the whole region. Minister Iqbal elaborated the Prime Minister’s vision of developing Gwadar as an engine for trade and regional growth by setting up industrial and economic zones. He invited Chinese assistance and investment in energy sector particularly solar energy.

The Federal Minister for Planning and development extended condolences to Chinese leadership on killing of Chinese tourists at Gilgit by terrorists. He said that this incident was a targeted attempt to stall the new dynamics in Pakistan-China relations but such incidents made our resolve stronger to defeat such conspiracies. People of Pakistan are grieved and shocked on this tragedy.

Vice Chairman NDRC, Zhang Xiaoqiang, said that Pakistan is the all-weather strategic partner of China and Beijing is committed to support the development of Pakistan. He maintained that Premier Li Keqiang and the new Chinese leadership remain keen and determined to translate their common vision of economic connectivity into reality and recognized that integration of China’s West with Pakistan’s South-West could unleash enormous trade, commercial, and economic possibilities for the broader Asian region.
Later, Mr. Xu Shaoshi, Minister and Chairman of NDRC, hosted a banquet in the honor of the visiting delegation from Pakistan Chinese government to build the China-Pakistan economic corridor. He said that people of China are looking forward to the first official visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

This visit is a follow-up to the recent visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Pakistan.

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