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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Four-Day Visit to China: A Closer Look

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In a significant development, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is all set to embark on a four-day visit to China following an official invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping. The announcement was made by the Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson during a recent weekly news briefing.

The premier’s itinerary includes visits to the cities of Xi’an and Chengdu, followed by delegation-level talks in Beijing with Chinese Premier Li Qiang. The agenda encompasses meetings with the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) Chairman Zhao Leji and heads of key government departments.

The frequent high-level visits between Pakistan and China stand as a testament to their enduring and unwavering friendship. The discussions during the upcoming visit are poised to focus on bolstering the “all-weather strategic partnership”, upgrading the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), enhancing bilateral trade, and expanding cooperation in various sectors such as space, defence, energy, science and technology, and education.

Moreover, the FO spokesperson highlighted the recent negotiations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where Afghan authorities expressed confidence in their ability to take action against individuals implicated in the Besham incident. Additionally, the FO underscored the ongoing coordination between Pakistani and US authorities to ensure the security of the Pakistan cricket team during their upcoming matches in the US.

In preparation for the trip, the PM emphasized the need for comprehensive plans to conduct productive business-to-business meetings aimed at attracting Chinese industries to establish their operations in Pakistan. This underscores the commitment to fostering stronger economic ties between the two nations.

Furthermore, during the briefing, the spokesperson also raised concerns about the Indian crackdown in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), emphasizing the need for the people of Kashmir to freely exercise their right to self-determination as ensured by UN Security Council resolutions. Pakistan’s continued support for the peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was reiterated.

The briefing also shed light on the recent bilateral dialogues Pakistan has conducted with other nations, underscoring its commitment to advancing high-level dialogue and cooperation with countries worldwide.

In response to the impending visit, the Chinese foreign ministry expressed anticipation for PM Shehbaz’s upcoming visit, viewing it as an opportunity to further strengthen the China-Pakistan strategic partnership. The ministry highlighted the robust and enduring nature of the friendship between the two nations, emphasizing the close high-level exchanges and steady advancement in practical cooperation.

The visit is expected to serve as a platform for in-depth discussions on bilateral relations and issues of common concern, with the aim of charting the future development of China-Pakistan relations. This visit holds the promise of enhancing mutual cooperation and fostering a closer community of destiny between the two countries.

As the visit draws closer, there is a palpable sense of optimism regarding the potential for further deepening the already strong ties between Pakistan and China, with both nations poised to leverage this opportunity for mutual benefit and shared progress.

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