High-level visits from Pakistan highlight investment, bilateral ties

Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (right) shakes hands with Pakistan's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammad Ishaq Dar in Beijing on May 15, 2024. The two held the fifth round of the China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue that day. Photo: Website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry

Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (right) shakes hands with Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammad Ishaq Dar in Beijing on May 15, 2024. The two held the fifth round of the China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue that day. Photo: Website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry

Pakistan’s newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammad Ishaq Dar is visiting Beijing this week. He has a busy schedule of meetings with officials and business leaders in a bid to attract Chinese investment and further improve bilateral relations between China and Pakistan.   

From Monday to Thursday, at the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Dar is paying an official visit to China. On Wednesday, Wang and Dar held the fifth round of the China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue.

Wang told the media after the strategic dialogue on Wednesday that following his assumption of office as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Dar chose China as the first country to visit officially, this highlighted Pakistan’s special emphasis on China-Pakistani relations. 

Wang mentioned that he had engaged in in-depth strategic communication with Dar on bilateral relations, cooperation in various fields, and international regional issues of common concern, leading to a broad consensus. 

“We both agree that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners, and the ironclad friendship between our two countries has stood the test of time, remaining as solid as a rock and as heavy as Mount Tai,” Wang said. “In a world of turmoil and change, a healthy, stable, and strong China-Pakistan relationship is of great significance for regional peace and prosperity,” he noted.

According to Pakistani state media, during his visit to China, Dar also invited Chinese companies to invest, set up their manufacturing and process units in Pakistan and benefit from the government’s investor-friendly policies. 

Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan’s Federal Minister of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, also visited China last week as part of the high-level interactions between China and Pakistan.

Analysts pointed out that the visits of high-level officials from Pakistan since Pakistan’s new government came to power showed the country’s willingness to further develop cooperation with China under the framework of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), especially in the high-quality development of the CPEC, a flagship project of the BRI.

Launched in 2013, the CPEC is a corridor linking the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan with Kashi in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which highlights energy, transport, and industrial cooperation. 

According to materials sent to the Global Times by the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing, during the visit, Dar had a tight schedule as he is busy with meeting both government officials and business communities in Beijing during the four-day trip. 

During his visit, he has emphasized opportunities for collaboration in various sectors, including infrastructure, renewable energy, textiles, agriculture, IT, and mining.

He has reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm support to China on its core issues and expressed the country’s willingness to accelerate progress on all CPEC projects including ML-I upgradation, the Gwadar port, and KKH realignment. 

“The first decade of the CPEC has laid important ground for fast-tracking development,” Pakistani Ambassador to China Khalil-ur-Rahman Hashmi told the Global Times in a previous interview. 

“Over 73 years, the Pakistan-China relationship has become very solid and assumed unique characteristics in terms of inter-state relations. Ours is a relationship that is not affected by internal developments in either country or regional and international events. That is why we refer to it as an ironclad relationship that has stood the test of time,” he said in the interview.