China, Pakistan ink agreements on bilateral cooperation

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – China and Pakistan on Saturday signed 15 agreements and memorandum of understandings (MoUs) for cooperation in diverse fields, including poverty alleviation, agriculture and transfer of electronics, local media reported.

The agreements were signed in a delegation level talks between the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the people in Beijing, according state-run Radio Pakistan.

Khan is currently on a four-day official visit to China.

According to Radio Pakistan, China would also help Pakistan to modernize the metrological department in the country while both countries would also extend cooperation in the field of higher education.

Earlier, Khan was warmly welcomed by his Chinese counterpart upon his arrival at the Great Hall of the people in Beijing.

During their meeting, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang expressed his desire to work closely with the new government in Pakistan to further strengthen the "all-weather" strategic partnership for shared future, said a statement by spokesman of Pakistani premier.

Both side expressed satisfaction at the progress of multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and hoped that the process of industrial development of Pakistan will accelerate with the launch of special economic zones and industrial park in Pakistan, the statement said.

The $64 billion project, which is the part of Beijing’s most ambitious foreign economic initiative — One Belt One Road — aims to connect northwest China to Pakistan's southwestern Gwadar port through a network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport cargo, oil and gas.

Chinese leadership assured the visiting Pakistani premier to provide necessary support and assistance to his country in tiding over the current economic difficulties.

"China will help Pakistan to come out in current economic crises, however the relevant authorities of the two side will have detailed discussion to fix the details," Kong Xuanyou, Chinese vice foreign minister told reporters following the meeting of both prime ministers.

Last month, Saudi Arabia has injected of a $6-billion bailout package to provide temporary relief to the ailing economy of Pakistan.

The package, which includes $3 billion for balance of payment support, was announced after a meeting between Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh.

Grappling with a colossal $18 billion current account deficit, Pakistan has already sought the assistance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to deal with the exacerbating balance of payment issue. An IMF mission is scheduled to visit Islamabad on Nov. 7, to discuss the terms and the size of the loan.