Sino-Pak think tanks moot should take relations to new heights

Posted by Admin On Tuesday, 3 September 2013 0 comments
Ambassador Masoood Khalid has said that the inauguration of China-Pakistan Think Tanks forum heralds the opening of a new chapter in the fields of intellectual and people-to-people exchanges.
Addressing the First Annual meeting of the China-Pakistan Think Tanks that concluded here on Sunday, Ambassador Khalid said that the purpose of the meeting was to celebrate Pakistan-China friendship, to recount what we have achieved in the past and to look towards what more we can achieve in the future.
Pakistan and China, Ambassador said are bound together by unique fraternal ties that have withstood global and regional upheaval, and remained impervious to political changes taking place within our own countries.
“In fact, we have seen this inherent strength of the relationship on display when the near-simultaneous change of leadership in China and Pakistan was followed almost immediately by high-level visits,” he observed.
First, newly-elected Chinese Premier Li Keqiang paid a visit to Pakistan in May when he embarked on his first overseas trip. Then, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif made China his first port of call to China after assuming office.
Both these visits have, he said reaffirmed the permanent and strategic nature of our ties.
Indeed, Prime Minister Sharif’s visit in July has helped strengthen the relationship by putting economic cooperation at the centre of our bilateral agenda. This is a historic change of course; a reorientation, he noted.
He pointed out that the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor would be the flagship project for this new phase in the growth of our relationship.
He was delighted to note that discussions in the forum devoted a lot of time to Gwadar, a landmark project.
By linking the Gwadar port via Karakoram Highway with Xinjiang, he said the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor will be a transformational project for our two economies.
It dovetails perfectly with the Chinese government’s strategy for developing China’s inland provinces. It will spur bilateral trade and investment and allow us to make better use of the elaborate institutional architecture already in place to support an enhanced economic engagement, he added.
He said it will invigorate mechanisms like the Pakistan-China FTA, Pakistan-China Joint Energy Working Group and the Pakistan-China Joint Investment Company.
Finally, as an engine for economic integration, the Economic Corridor could act as a game-changer for the whole region, he said.
He maintained that mindful of this opportunity to forge a new destiny, our two governments are actively working together to ensure speedy implementation of this project.
In this connection, he said that just recently, a high-powered delegation led by Vice Chairman Zhang Xiaoqiang of the National Development and Reform Commission visited Pakistan to meet with their Pakistani counterpart agencies and performed the initial spadework.
They had fruitful discussions and have returned with a better understanding of what needs to be done for the Corridor project to take off the ground.
He said that on bilateral cooperation in the cultural, people-to-people and education spheres, this has been a relatively neglected facet of our relationship.
While the high degree of mutual trust seen at the leadership level between Pakistan and China and is matched by the depth of love and affection among our two peoples, there exist few forums that bring together students, thinkers, artists and young entrepreneurs from the two countries on one platform. In that sense, the inauguration of this annual event is a step in the right direction. But there is need to do more. It is especially important that the rich narrative of our friendship is transmitted to our young people.
Ambassador Khalid lauded the splendid work being done by the Pakistan Study Centers at Tsinghua and Peking Universities here, at the Fudan University in Shanghai and the Sichuan University in Chengdu for doing outstanding job in promoting education and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
He also shed lights on Pakistan’s pivotal role in regional and international affairs and noted that as time for withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan is getting closer, therefore there is need for closer coordination between Pakistan and China is greater than ever.
Both Pakistan and China share the same aspirations for Afghanistan.
Pakistan will continue to support China on all its core issues whether these pertain to Taiwan, Tibet or Xinjiang, he observed.
Maintaining close strategic cooperation with China on all bilateral and global issues, Ambassador said, has been and will remain the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Professor Li has rendered extraordinary services for the promotion of Pakistan-China relations, he added.
Ambassador Masood Khalid termed Professor Li, as a true friend of Pakistan.
China-Pakistan economic corridor for energy, trade, transport, and industrial development, equity-based economic growth, regional geopolitics, foreign policy challenges, scientific and technological cooperation, higher education, cultural cooperation were the major topics discussed at the forum.
The two day meeting was hosted by China’s Tsinghua University Centre for Pakistan Culture and Communication Studies, China-Pakistan Joint Think Tank, the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) and the Academy of China and World Agendas.
On the occasion, Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman of Pakistan-China Institute was given award for outstanding contribution towards Public Diplomacy.


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