New Delhi, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Pakistan on Friday to hold talks with the country’s new leadership to consolidate cooperation and elevate the all-weather bilateral strategic partnership.
This is the first high-level visit by a Chinese official to Islamabad since the new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan assumed office after the July 25 elections.
The visit by Wang, who is also designated as the State Councillor which makes him the top diplomat of China, comes two days after that of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Pompeo met Prime Minister Khan and pressed him to take ‘sustained and decisive measures’ against terrorists threatening the regional peace and stability.
Announcing Wang’s visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told the media that besides holding talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, he would also meet top leaders of the new Pakistan government and exchange views on bilateral ties, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
“This is the first high-level visit between the two sides after the establishment of the new government in Pakistan. We hope that through the visit the two sides could consolidate our traditional friendship, all-round cooperation and elevate China-Pakistan all-weather strategic and cooperative partnership,” she said when asked about China’s expectations from the visit from September 7-9.
“China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic and cooperative partners. We are good neighbours, good friends and good brothers. Our bilateral ties have been developing with sound momentum. We have frequent high-level exchanges, practical cooperation moving forward and rich outcomes from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” she said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday congratulated Pakistan’s newly-elected President Arif Alvi, saying the strategic significance of the bilateral ties is ‘more prominent under the current circumstances’ and both sides should support each other ‘more staunchly’.
Wang’s visit also comes amidst reports of unease in Beijing over how the new Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government would approach over $50 billion Chinese investments in various projects under the CPEC connecting China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang province with Gwadar port in Pakistan.
Khan in the past criticised former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for the lack of transparency and corruption in the CPEC projects. Newly-appointed Finance Minister Asad Umar has promised to bring about transparency to the CPEC projects whose details remained closely guarded secrets.
India has protested to China over the CPEC, which is being built through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).