Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif held a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the 22nd SCO Council of Heads of State in Samarkand, today.
This was the Prime Minister’s first meeting with the President of China since assuming office in April 2022. The interaction between the two leaders was marked by traditional warmth as well as exceptional mutual trust and understanding.
In his welcoming remarks, the Chinese President described Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif as “a person of pragmatism and efficiency.” He also added that the Prime Minister was a leader with “a longstanding commitment to China-Pakistan friendship.”
The two leaders reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and exchanged views on important regional and international issues of mutual interest.
The Prime Minister extended his best wishes to President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party of China for the forthcoming 20th CPC National Congress.
The Prime Minister underscored that the SCO provided an excellent forum to further their shared vision and mutual values into concrete plans for regional cooperation and integration.
Noting the enduring nature of China-Pakistan bilateral ties, the Prime Minister underlined that our ‘All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership’ and Iron brotherhood had withstood the test of time. He reaffirmed his resolve to take their bilateral relations to greater heights.
The Prime Minister thanked President Xi, the government, and the people of China for the generous and timely support for the flood-affected people in Pakistan. He said that the outpouring of sympathy and support from all quarters across China was touching and a true reflection of our unique friendship. He condoled with President Xi over the tragic loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Sichuan Province on 5 September 2022, emphasizing that the Government and people of Pakistan stood with China in the face of this natural calamity.
The Prime Minister briefed President Xi on his Government’s policies for Pakistan’s sustained growth, industrial development, agricultural modernization, and regional connectivity. The Prime Minister appreciated the transformational impact of CPEC on Pakistan’s socio-economic development. He reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the high-quality development of CPEC.
Both leaders welcomed the signing of a Protocol to the Framework Agreement on the ML-1 Railway Project. He also thanked the Chinese government for the support extended to Pakistan for its sovereignty and territorial integrity, FATF, national development, and COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s consistent and unwavering support to China on all issues of its core interest, including Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong. The Prime Minister shared his views with President Xi on the international situation, while highlighting that challenges like climate change, health pandemics, and growing inequalities could only be tackled through the cooperation of all nations in accordance with the UN Charter. He lauded President Xi’s visionary Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Global Development Initiative (GDI), which called for collective action for sustainable development and win-win outcomes.
The Prime Minister highlighted the serious human rights situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and thanked China for its principled stand on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
The Prime Minister renewed his invitation to President Xi Jinping to undertake a state visit to Pakistan, underlining that the people of Pakistan were looking forward to accord a warm welcome to him. While acknowledging the invitation, President Xi stated that he was looking forward to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to China at an early date.