PM joins world leaders as glitzy Beijing Winter Olympics kicks off

PM reaffirms Pakistan's firm commitment to One China Policy, other issues of core interests

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BEIJING: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday joined the world leaders at Beijing’s National Stadium as the spectacular Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 kicked off here. Also known as the Bird’s Nest stadium, the venue of Olympics featured a show of ice-cool blue lasers as President Xi Jinping inaugurated the international sports event. Prime Minister Imran Khan, who also arrived in Beijing Thursday, also attended the colorful event along with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Planning Minister Asad Umar. According to media reports, around 3,000 athletes from 91 nations would compete across 109 medal events. The athletes paraded at the opening ceremony including Muhammad Karim who would represent Pakistan in Alpine Skiing. Prime Minister Imran Khan and his delegation arose from their seats to join the spectators for welcoming Pakistan’s squad passing through the venue waving the national flag. Starting from February 4, the games would continue till February 20. The athletes made their way into the stadium through a spectacular entrance which has been described as “Gate of China” and “Window of China.” The ‘Gate of China’ symbolizes that China opens its doors to welcome the world to the Olympic Winter Games. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday invited the Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan and benefit from the business-friendly policies of the government.

Likewise, Prime Minister Imran Khan has reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm commitment to One China Policy and other issues of core interests.

During an exclusive session with the heads and representatives of Chinese Think Tanks, Universities and Pakistan Study Centers in Beijing on Friday, he thanked China for its unwavering support on Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

Imran Khan said the world does not need another cold war in view of myriad of global challenges. He said Pakistan is, therefore, of the belief that the key driver in international politics should be cooperation, rather than confrontation.  He recalled that Pakistan in the past had played a role in building bridges and remain ready to do so again. Reaffirming Pakistan’s all weather strategic partnership with China, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of CPEC as a flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.

He said the next phase of CPEC will focus on industrialization, cooperation in information technology and agricultural transformation.  He said Pakistan is offering incentives for investment that are at par with or better than other investment destinations.

Imran Khan said that India’s aggressive behavior and prevailing Hindutva ideology poses a threat to regional peace and a cause of lingering instability.

Alluding to India’s continued atrocities in illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, he said the world must pay attention to the Indian oppression against Kashmiris.

Discussing the regional dynamics, the Prime Minister said it is in the mutual interest of Pakistan and China to cooperate in ensuring peace and security in Afghanistan. He called on the international community not to leave alone Afghans in this time of need. He underlined the importance of Pakistan and China working with Afghanistan to advance shared objectives of peace, development and connectivity.

The Prime Minister stressed for further strengthening people to people contacts including cultural and academic linkages between Pakistan and China. He emphasized for greater efforts for joint research and intellectual dialogue to better appreciate the common threats and opportunities facing the two countries.

During his visit, the prime minister, who held a series of meetings with the executives of Chinese State-owned and private corporate sectors, said Pakistan was offering conducive environment for investment in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

In his remarks, the prime minister appreciated the keen interest of the Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan. The executives who met the prime minister included leadership of China Communication Construction Company (CCCC), Huazhong Technology, Zhejiang Seaport Group, Challenge Apparel, Hunan Sunwalk Group, Royal Group, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), Zhengbang Group and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC). The corporate leaders briefed the prime minister on the progress of their on-going projects in Pakistan.

They evinced keen interest in expanding investments in Pakistan in projects related to recycling of metals and paper, energy, textile, fibre-optics networks, housing, dairy and water management. The CCCC is a leading global construction and infrastructure development company; Huazhong Technology, specialises in integrated papermaking equipment; Zhejiang Seaport Group is one of China’s largest port operator; Challenge Fashions is a leading textile company; Hunan Sunwalk’s core business is in communications, 3D printing and construction; Royal Group is China’s largest buffalo milk producer; CRBC focuses in civil engineering and construction projects; Zhengbang Group is Jiangxi Province’s largest agricultural enterprise; and CMEC is one of Chinese top agro-industrial machinery company. The prime minister was joined in the meetings by federal ministers, advisers and senior officials. Meanwhile to another official commitment, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday terming the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of strategic significance for both the countries said the project was delivering tangible benefits. The prime minister expressed these views in a virtual meeting with Mr. He Lifeng, Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing. The prime minister noted with satisfaction that CPEC’s early-harvest projects had transformed Pakistan’s economic landscape, thus laying a solid foundation for sustainable economic growth. Reaffirming the commitment of two sides to timely completion of CPEC and its high-quality development, the prime minister said that both sides would continue expediting efforts to achieve Gwadar’s potential as a hub of regional commerce and industry while also prioritizing preparatory work on the ML-1 and other key energy projects. During the meeting, both sides reviewed the progress of ongoing CPEC projects and discussed the preparations for future initiatives.  The prime minister was accompanied by cabinet ministers and senior officials for the meeting while Mr.He Lifeng was accompanied by Vice Chairmen Ning Jizhe and Tang Dengjie and other senior officials of the NDRC. In his remarks, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership was time-tested and timeless. Despite COVID-19 pandemic, work on all CPEC projects progressed steadily due to joint cooperation of both sides.

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