BEIJING: Foreign Minister (FM) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that Pakistan’s bilateral trade with China is expected to flourish further, thanks to cooperation between the two countries in the fight against climate change and investment in renewable energy.
“For the past 71 years, successive generations of leaders have cultivated bilateral ties between Pakistan and China,” the foreign minister said in an exclusive interview with a Chinese news agency at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week.
“Our relationship is based on mutual respect, trust and understanding. Both countries support each other in matters of key interest. Pakistan and China believe in promoting regional peace and stability and share a common dream of national development and prosperity,” he said.
Islamabad-Beijing relations have also grown thanks to new initiatives such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China in 2013, he said.
Foreign Minister Bilawal emphasized that Pakistan and China today have a multifaceted partnership. “We have strong strategic and defense cooperation. Our economic and trade relations are advancing rapidly, entering a new phase with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Our financial, investment and industrial sectors maintain close ties,” he said.
“China has become the top destination for Pakistani students and there are strong ties between our people cultivated by artists, academia, the scientific community and the media,” he added.
With investments in the country’s modern transport networks, including roads and railways, energy projects, ports and special economic zones, CPEC has provided an opportunity for Pakistan to promote growth and economic development.
Regarding the bilateral trade prospects between China and Pakistan, Foreign Minister Bilawal said that economic relations are the focus of Pakistan-China all-time strategic cooperation.
Trade relations with China have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, he added. “China is among our top export markets and the largest source of foreign direct investment. Both our countries also have a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) which contributes to our broad economic relationship.”
“In renewable energy, Pakistan and China have undertaken a number of major solar, wind and hydropower projects. We also welcome Chinese businesses to participate in Pakistan’s solar energy initiative, which seeks to respond to human-induced climate change despite Pakistan’s own negligible contributions,” he said.
The WEF 2023 annual meeting was held in Davos, Switzerland, from January 16 to 20, under the theme “Collaboration in a Fragmented World.”