The first official delegation of the government of Pakistan visited China on January 4, 1950, just three months after the end of the Chinese Civil War and establishment of the People’s Republic.
The foreign offices of both countries maintained close coordination, which resulted in complete harmony on world affairs. They made major progress on bilateral ties and many memoranda of understanding and agreements were signed between the two countries.
With the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative and signing of the CPEC agreement, relations between Pakistan and China have entered a new era. In addition to the already strong political and military relationship, economic relations have improved exponentially.
Chinese investments are pouring into Pakistan, and several mega-projects have been launched in power generation and transmission. Basic infrastructure such as motorways, railway, airports, seaports, oil and gas pipelines, and optical-fiber linkages are being upgraded and strengthened.
Chinese nationals are coming in to help build a stronger and viable Pakistan. People-to-people contact has increased tremendously. The number of flights between two countries has increased. Cultural exchanges are increasing by means of students learning Chinese and cultural troupes visiting each other. Pakistani students now consider China as one of the most desirable destinations for higher education.
Sino-Pakistani friendship has expanded in all dimensions and has been forged into a strategic partnership. In fact, Pakistan has entered a new era of relationship with China.
To date, CPEC’s progress is satisfactory. The early harvest projects meet the timelines in most cases. However, CPEC in entering the next phase, where Pakistan will launch special economic zones and China will move some of its industry into Pakistan. The Pakistani private sector is gearing up for joint ventures with Chinese counterparts.
Industrialization will generate an abundance of job opportunities and increase national productivity in Pakistan. The industrial output will meet the requirements of the domestic market, eventually reducing Pakistan’s import bill, while excess products will be exported, reducing the trade gap and becoming a major source of foreign exchange.
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Agriculture is Pakistan’s economic backbone and will remain a key feature in CPEC’s next phase. The mineral sector is another area that needs attention and will see a surge in the next phase.
The real potential for growth of economic ties between China and Pakistan is huge. China and Pakistan will work hand in hand to achieve a prosperous future.
Long live Pakistan-China friendship. Zhong-ba you yi wan sui.