Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Monday arrived in China to attend the “Third Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation”, being held in Beijing from October 17 to 18.
The forum in Beijing marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi’s ambitious global infrastructure and energy initiative, billed as recreating the ancient Silk Road to boost global trade.
Upon landing in Beijing, PM Kakar was received by Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Jiang Zaidong and Ambassador of Pakistan to China Moin-ul-Haq, the PM Office said in a press release.
The prime minister is accompanied by a high-level delegation including members of the cabinet and senior government officials.
PM Kakar will attend the opening ceremony of the BRF and address the high-level forum titled ‘Connectivity in an Open Global Economy’ to be held on October 18.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter) before departing, PM Kakar said: “Starting off to Beijing to participate in the 3rd Belt and Road Forum, on the official invitation of President Xi Jinping.
“Looking forward to strengthening ties, engaging in dialogues, forging new partnerships, and promoting regional connectivity for a brighter future,” he added.
According to the PMO, the prime minister, while representing Pakistan in the Belt and Road Forum, will reiterate the development achievements of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the last ten years as well as future goals and Pakistan’s full cooperation on this key project.
Earlier, it was reported that China and Pakistan will ink significant agreements under the CPEC regarding motorways and highways during the premier’s four-day visit.
Senior Chinese officials, business leaders and investors as well as leaders from 130 countries, ranging from the Russian president to representatives of the Taliban administration, are expected to attend the Forum, according to Reuters and AFP reports.
Kakar hails Pak-China ties in op-ed
In an op-ed for China’s Global Times, which was published ahead of his departure, Kakar talked about the enduring ties between both countries.
“The timeless Pakistan-China partnership and deep-rooted friendship serves the interests of both countries, being the historic choice of our people. Pakistan-China relations remain the cornerstone of our foreign policy. The close time-tested friendship with China enjoys the abiding support of the people of Pakistan,” he said.
Talking about the BRF, Kakar paid tribute to the “vision and statesmanship of President Xi who, 10 years ago, propounded the vision of building a global community of shared future, introducing a novel concept for international development partnership, a new idea for global governance and cooperation, and a fresh approach toward international exchanges, thus drawing up a new blueprint for a better interconnected world.”
He said that Pakistan was among the first countries to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). He said that the CPEC marked a milestone in relations between the two countries by “placing economic cooperation and connectivity at the very center of the bilateral agenda, making the two countries more interconnected than ever before”.
“The CPEC remains a shining example of the BRI’s promise of economic prosperity and connectivity. It has transformed the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan, upgrading modern infrastructure, enhancing regional connectivity, ensuring energy security, and creating jobs,” the premier said.
He stated that Pakistan remained committed to jointly building CPEC and “fully endorsed” China’s proposal of developing the project as a corridor of “growth, livelihood, innovation, greenness and openness”.
He further said that in a world marred by multiple challenges, the salience of the Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership assumed great importance.
“It is a source of pride and comfort for our two peoples and a factor of peace and stability in the region and beyond. Ours is a relationship of the past, present, and future, and nothing can alter this reality,” he said.
Meetings and MoUs
During his visit, PM Kakar will have a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping as well as the top Chinese leadership and leaders of other countries participating in the forum, the PMO stated.
It went on to add that the prime minister will also meet with businessmen and investors in China to promote foreign investment in Pakistan.
The premier will also visit Ürümqi “in order to promote relations between the people of Xinjiang and Pakistan as well as business and investment”, where he will meet local dignitaries and businessmen.
State-run Radio Pakistan quoted Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Moinul Haque as saying that “a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) will be signed during the visit”, adding that 18 different MoUs will be signed.
He highlighted that the BRF was being organised to mark 10-year celebrations of the Belt and Road Initiative and its flagship project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Haque stated that the country wants to convert the Karakoram Highway (KKH), which is an important part of CPEC, into an all-weather road to expand trade, tourism and cultural connectivity.
PM Kakar will also address Xinjiang University and interact with the business community of the province, the ambassador said.
For Pakistan, one of the significant MoUs to be signed is related to the establishment of a modern Highway Research & Training Centre (HRTC) with Chinese assistance.
The prime minister will also sign an MoU to upgrade the KKH from Raikot to Thakot, Raikot to Khunjerab (335km), KKH phase-2 on the E-35 section from Havelian to Thakot covering 120km and introduction of a motorway section connecting Havelian to Mansehra.
The PM will also hold a discussion on the construction of a motorway from Dera Ismail Khan to Zhob, while Gwadar port will remain the centre of discussion during the meetings in Beijing.