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. 

Blinken should fasten the ‘first button’ before landing in China: Global Times editorial

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards his plane at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, on April 23, 2024, on his way to Beijing. Photo: VCG

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards his plane at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, on April 23, 2024, on his way to Beijing. Photo: VCG

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit China from April 24 to 26. Before his departure, the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a preview to the media with more than 3,000 words and introduced the relevant information of this visit. China has expressed “welcome” to Blinken’s visit, and this attitude has not changed. At the same time, China gave a detailed explanation of the five major goals it focuses on for this visit, including establishing the right perception, strengthening dialogue, effectively managing differences, promoting mutually beneficial cooperation, and jointly shouldering responsibilities as major countries. China maintains flexibility in developing relations with the US, while also upholding seriousness on issues concerning China’s core interests.

China’s press briefing is timely for the public and the US side to correctly understand the significance and role of this interaction. As an important event for China and the US to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state in San Francisco last year, China, while expressing its welcome to Blinken’s visit, also puts forward its expectations and views on the goals to be achieved by this trip. It takes about 20 hours to fly from Washington to Shanghai, which is enough time for Blinken and his team to look at the list carefully, so as to establish a correct understanding and button the “first button” before landing in China.

From the current trends in US public opinion, it is more evident how targeted this briefing from the Chinese side is. Just before Blinken’s visit to China, the US media continued to play the trick of “exerting pressure to demand concessions.” On the one hand, American media cited anonymous sources claiming that the US is drafting sanctions that could cut some Chinese banks off the global financial system, purportedly to increase “diplomatic leverage” for Blinken’s visit. On the other hand, the US State Department’s 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices continued to spread lies about Xinjiang, falsely accusing China of engaging in so-called “ethnic genocide” and stating that Blinken would “raise human rights at the highest levels and in the clearest way.” The US attempts to spread misconceptions and misperceptions about China through its hegemony in certain circles. To be honest, this approach has been overused and is greatly discounted if relied upon repeatedly.

During the meeting between the heads of state of China and the US in San Francisco last year, President Xi Jinping proposed the “five pillars” to support the “San Francisco Vision” of China-US relations, with “jointly developing a right perception” occupying the foremost position. China focuses on five major goals for Blinken’s visit, with “establishing a right perception” still ranking first. Why does China-US relations continue to experience fluctuations, causing the international community to remain concerned? Why does the US side turn a normal visit into what seems like an “ultimatum”? The fundamental reason is that the US side has yet to establish a correct perception of China. If this issue is not resolved, it is like walking at night blindfolded and it will easily lead to mistakes and even danger.

As everyone knows, the so-called “ethnic genocide” in Xinjiang is an outright “lie of the century,” which has been debunked extensively worldwide. Even under the carefully crafted little iron curtain by Western media, the voices of justice exposing this lie are growing louder. Nevertheless, this “lie of the century” repeatedly appears in the so-called annual human rights report of the US State Department. Apart from raising doubts about the quality of the report, it also makes people see more clearly the true intentions of certain forces in the US to interfere in China’s internal affairs and suppress Chinese industries.

Behind this extreme phenomenon is a deeper issue: some of the differences between China and the US stem from either America’s fundamental misunderstanding of China’s true situation or deliberately portraying China as a rival of the US and distorting perceptions of China for the purpose of containing China. In recent years, the US’ misperceptions of China have led to severe difficulties in bilateral relations, a point that China has repeatedly emphasized to the US. However, US diplomacy tends to prioritize discussing issues from its own interests, adopting a so-called “pragmatic” approach. Combined with a style of acting that suggests “the US sets the standard for perception,” this approach often leads to self-righteous and absurd arguments regarding China’s perceptions, putting pressure on bilateral relations.

A three-day trip is not a short visit. It is able to cover extensive and in-depth discussions on a wide range of issues. China-US relations should stabilize and improve, moving forward on a path of stability, health, and sustainability. In this regard, there is ample room for imagination and cooperation for both countries. At the same time, China has its own interests to uphold, principles to defend, and bottom lines to maintain. Hopefully the US side remains sufficiently clear-minded and avoids any misjudgments.

China expects more economic, sci-tech cooperation with San Francisco, Breed visit sends positive signs for bilateral exchanges

A group of 24 US students from Lincoln Middle School and Steilacoom Historical School in Washington set off from San Francisco to begin their trip to China, on March 16, 2024. Photo: IC

A group of 24 US students from Lincoln Middle School and Steilacoom Historical School in Washington set off from San Francisco to begin their trip to China, on March 16, 2024. Photo: IC

Chinese Vice President Han Zheng on Thursday met with visiting Mayor of San Francisco London Breed, expressing hopes that the mayor’s visit will further boost economic and sci-tech cooperation between the two sides, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Observers said that Breed’s visit has sent a positive signal for promoting local and non-governmental exchanges between China and the US, following the visit of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to China, and they hoped that the momentum would be further extended. 

Recalling it was in San Francisco that the historic China-US summit took place in November 2023, Han said that the US city has a longstanding bond with China and has been at the forefront of California and the US in terms of exchanges with China.

Han said he hoped that Breed’s visit will further promote bilateral cooperation in economy, trade, science and technology; create highlights in jointly meeting climate change challenges; increase personnel and cultural exchanges; enhance the friendship between the two peoples, and promote the sound and steady development of China-US relations.

Breed said that her visit aims to implement the important consensus reached at the San Francisco summit and promote the development of bilateral relations through local and non-governmental exchanges.

San Francisco will continue to strengthen personnel exchanges and practical cooperation with China in various fields, Breed said.

Exchanges at local and non-governmental levels will be conducive to maintaining bilateral ties under a situation in which high-level communication between the two countries is not going smoothly, Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Gao said that local exchanges mainly involve personnel and cultural exchanges, and economic and trade cooperation, as both sides have made efforts to bolster cooperation. 

Breed’s visit and interactions with local officials and representatives showed the city’s willingness to advance cooperation with China, demonstrating complementarity and the need for bilateral cooperation, and showcasing a positive significance despite some double-faced practices implemented by the US, Li Yong, a senior research fellow at the China Association of International Trade, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Both Gao and Li highlighted the consolidating cooperation between China and the US at the local level, as these mechanisms have been progressing against the backdrop of some issues that may be affected by geopolitical factors. 

Before heading to Beijing, Breed visited Guangzhou and Shenzhen in South China’s Guangdong Province. Mayors from Guangzhou and Shenzhen highlighted the cooperation potential between the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the San Francisco Bay Area, due to their rapid economic development and innovative vitality, during their meetings with Breed.  

Shenzhen Mayor Qin Weizhong said that Shenzhen is willing to strengthen cooperation with San Francisco in fields including economic and trade exchanges, technological innovation and emerging industries. 

Breed said that she hoped to step up cooperation with Shenzhen in artificial intelligence, new-energy vehicles, sports and tourism while deepening exchanges between young people from the two cities. 

When meeting Breed on Tuesday, Guangzhou’s Mayor Sun Zhiyang said that the city aims to further strengthen practical exchanges and bilateral cooperation in fields such as the low-carbon economy. 

Despite the US crackdown on China’s high-tech sector, observers said that Breed’s visits to Shenzhen and Guangzhou, China’s major tech hubs, showed that the US still seeks to promote cooperation in related fields with China at the local level. 

Cooperation between China and the US will form a rational, win-win situation despite issues that may appear in economic and trade exchanges, which will actually help sort out some of the problems, Li noted. 

Local-level cooperation between the two countries has broad potential with new opportunities benefiting both sides, Li said. 

Breed is visiting China from April 14 to Sunday. During her stay in China, she will celebrate the 45th anniversary of sister city status for San Francisco and Shanghai, the mayor’s office said in response to a Global Times email inquiry. 

“I am honored to be invited to travel to China and meet with leaders in business, innovation and government to cultivate economic opportunities and strengthen ties between San Francisco and cities across the region,” Breed was quoted as saying.