BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping said here on Friday that Beijing welcomes Pakistan’s upcoming entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Xi made the remarks when meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the 15th SCO summit, which is set to start procedures for granting India and Pakistan full membership.
“China is willing to maintain close cooperation with Pakistan within the SCO framework,” said the Chinese president. Pakistan and India are now among the five observers of the SCO, which currently groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Xi said, appreciates Pakistan’s efforts in pushing forward the Afghan peace process, and will work together with Pakistan to play a constructive role in helping Afghanistan realize national reconciliation and peaceful development at an early date.
Beijing attaches great importance to the relations with Pakistan and always regards the bilateral ties as a foreign policy priority, said the Chinese president.
“We will make joint efforts to enrich the connotation of the China-Pakistan community of common destiny, so as to play an exemplary role for building the community of common destiny between China and other neighboring countries,” he added.
On the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Xi said the project is an important component of the Beijing-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, and relates to the two countries’ long-term development.
He added that since he paid a state visit to Pakistan in April, a batch of projects have been officially launched, signaling that the economic corridor has entered the phase of implementation.
“China firmly supports Pakistan’s efforts in safeguarding national security and will continue to provide support and help for Pakistan to improve relevant capabilities,” said Xi.
For his part, Sharif thanked China for its tremendous support and help to Pakistan, saying that his country treasures its relations with China.
Noting that the two sides made a series of important consensuses during Xi’s visit, he said Pakistan is “willing to make joint efforts with China to implement those agreements.”
Pakistan, he said, supports China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, and will vigorously participate in relevant cooperation.
Pakistan and China share common interests in maintaining regional security, said Sharif, adding that Pakistan will work together with China to safeguard regional security and push forward the Afghan peace process.
Pakistan is also willing to carry out close cooperation and coordination with China within the SCO framework, said the Pakistani prime minister.