PAKISTAN and China have signed 20 deals during the maiden visit of interim prime minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar to enhance cooperation under the Beijing-backed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), according to a joint statement last Friday (20).
Kakar visited China from last Monday (16) to Friday (20) and attended the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the invitation of Chinese president Xi Jinping.
Kakar met Xi, prime minister Li Qiang and other top leaders during his visit.
Both countries acknowledged the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a “pioneering” project of the BRI. During the visit, the two allies signed 20 deals, covering cooperation on the BRI, infrastructure, mining, industry, green and lowcarbon development, health, space cooperation, digital economy, development cooperation and export of agricultural products to China, a joint statement said. “Both sides reiterated their resolve to make Gwadar a highquality port, a regional trade hub and a connectivity node,” it said.
India has been critical of the initiative as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Pakistani Kashmir.
The joint statement also referred to the countries’ cooperation in defence. “Underscoring that stronger strategic defence and security cooperation between China and Pakistan is an important factor of peace and stability in the region, the two sides agreed to maintain high-level military-tomilitary visits and exchanges and deepen cooperation in areas of training, joint exercises and military technology,” it said.
Beijing and Islamabad also expressed concerns over the escalation of tensions and violence between Palestine and Israel, and called for an immediate ceasefire cessation of hostilities, it added.