Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto on Saturday stressed the importance of “peace and stability in Afghanistan” for the region’s socioeconomic development and vowed to work together with all stakeholders, including China, towards its achievement.
Addressing a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang in Islamabad, Bilawal said: “In our dialogue today, we also noted the peace and stability in Afghanistan remains vital for socio-economic development, connectivity and prosperity in the region.
“We will continue to work together with all stakeholders for peaceful, stable, prosperous and united Afghanistan,” he asserted.
A day ago, the foreign ministers of China and Afghanistan arrived in Islamabad to participate in bilateral and trilateral meetings on a range of issues, including security and the economy.
The Chinese minister — who is on a two-day visit — had called on President Arif Alvi, where both sides resolved to work together to promote regional peace and prosperity as well as jointly cope with external challenges.
Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi — who is on a four-day visit — will also participate in some bilateral meetings, notably, the fifth China-Pakistan-Afghanistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue.
Muttaqi’s visit is a continuation of Pakistan’s political engagement with Afghanistan, which, among other things, included Khar’s visit to Kabul in November last year and a visit of a high-level delegation led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif in February.
Pakistan voices support for China ‘on all its core issues’
Today, Bilawal highlighted the long-standing friendly relations between Pakistan and China: “Our two countries have stood with each other for decades and would continue to stand with each other in the decades to come.
The minister reiterated Pakistan’s firm support for China “on all its core issues, including One-China policy, Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea”.
“Pakistan remains profoundly grateful to China for its generous and timely assistance as we continue to grapple with the headwinds in a global economy,” he added.
Bilawal further termed the Pakistan-China friendship as “irreversible”, “a historic reality”, and a “consensus choice of the two nations”. He added: “Pakistan remains against bloc politics or great power competition of any kind.”
“We are committed to remaining engaged with China to promote south-south cooperation, especially in light of emerging global concerns like human-induced climate change,” he vowed.
Talking about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Bilawal said it remains a “win-win economic initiative open to all investors around the world”.
The minister said Pakistan reiterated its “abiding commitment to its [CPEC’s] high-quality development”.
Bilawal further said: “CPEC remains a shining example of the Belt and Road Cooperation, which is accelerated socioeconomic development, job creation and improvement of the people’s livelihoods in Pakistan.”
Earlier today, Bilawal appreciated China’s “principled and just stance” on the issue of India-occupied Kashmir as well as its “firm support for Pakistan’s territorial integrity”
Addressing a delegation-level meeting with China at the Foreign Office (FO), Bilawal said, “We deeply appreciate China’s firm support for Pakistan’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and national development as well as China’s principled and just stance on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.”
The minister stressed upon the importance of Pak-China relations: “There is absolute unison when it comes to the Pak-China strategic partnership. I can assure Your Excellency that this sentiment is shared by everyone in Pakistan for China and the great Chinese nation.
“China can always count on Pakistan as its most reliable partner and trusted friend. Friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. The centrality and criticality of Pakistan’s all-weather partnership with China cannot be overstated,” Bilawal asserted.
He termed Chinese assistance and support in the evacuation of Pakistani nationals from Sudan as a “recent manifestation of our friendship”.