Pakistan and China Signed 15 Agreements on Bilateral Cooperation

Jermaine Castillo
November 4, 2018

Khan is in Beijing on his maiden visit to China as the two countries grapple to iron out differences over the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Islamabad approaching "friendly nations" to avoid a tough International Monetary Fund bailout package. "You will see the difference because a lot has happened since 2013".

Following Li's meeting with Khan, Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said the two sides had "made it clear in principle that the Chinese government will provide necessary support and assistance to Pakistan in tiding over the current economic difficulties".

Khan will return to Pakistan with "good news and a good package", Pakistan's Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told reporters on Friday, according to GEO News.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of a number of agreements and MoUs in the fields of economic and technical cooperation, agriculture, poverty reduction, science and technology, innovation and combating drug trafficking besides establishment of joint research center on earth sciences, joint working group on social and livelihood affairs.

The historic meeting of the two leaders will reinforce shared commitment to take all-weather and time-tested Pakistan-China friendship to new heights and would further strengthen the existing multifaceted equation of the two countries for the benefit of the two countries and the region.

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Media reports had earlier said China was preparing a $6 billion package of aid, including loans and additional investment for CPEC.

China Thursday sought to defend the proposed bus service with Pakistan through PaK, saying its cooperation with Islamabad has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and will not change its principled stance on the Kashmir issue.

The shift in tone on the CPEC projects may indicate that they are a precondition of further Chinese economic aid.

"It is not targeted against any third party", he said, despite the project passing through PoK.

Pakistan is now battling serious economic crisis including balance of payments.

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Pakistan is also due to speed up the launch of special economic zones in the country to spur "industrial development".

India's ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale, in a March interview with the Hong Kong-based daily South China Morning Post, had said that if the CPEC meets the norms of an global programme, then New Delhi has no problem.

"Simultaneously, CPEC projects will also bring stability to China's southwestern region", he said, adding that China would push for their implementation despite Pakistan's debt concerns. "We are willing to provide assistance to Pakistan within our capability and work together to achieve regional peace, stability and prosperity", Li said.

"CPEC will be introduced to more areas of Pakistan and will also tilt in favour of areas relating to people's lives". But CPEC would be altered to include more industrial plans, particularly the creation of industrial parks, and more joint venture projects.

"The Pakistani side reaffirmed its support to the Chinese side in safeguarding its sovereignty and security, and combating separatism, terrorism and extremism including East Turkistan Islamic Movement", the statement said, referring to ETIM- a separatist movement with nodes in Xinjiang.

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