'PM's China visit opens up new vistas of economic cooperation'

Lifestyle       by Bushra Nayeem | Published

Lifestyle by Bushra Nayeem | Published

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to China was productive enough to get Pakistan "out of the woods".

The foreign minister also said that he is confident that the discussions held in the recent visit would help Pakistan "double its exports", adding that one of the primary objectives of the China visit was to attend China's export and import exhibition, where 130 countries participated and Pakistan was given a centre stage and keynote address. "We do not have any balance of payments crisis now", Umar was quoted as saying.

"We decided that our strategic dialogue must be upgraded and its level be raised to the foreign ministers level", he said.

Feeling very confident after returning from a productive visit to China led by PM Imran Khan. China while stating that it would extend necessary support to Pakistan, reportedly committed $6 billion funding.

He said the government approached China for help in the agriculture sector particularly in enhancing exports of agricultural products.

Briefing the media persons about the federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the minister said that following this visit Pakistan would be able to handle balance of payments issue.

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Umar's comments of China's assistance came in the backdrop of criticism in the Pakistan media that Khan has returned home empty handed without securing firm commitment from Beijing as it remained circumspect due his past criticism of projects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an ambitious project of President Xi. That initiative has seen mostly developing countries sign up for billions of dollars in infrastructure construction, usually by Chinese firms and China-supplied financing.

"We have been offering our assistance to Pakistan within the best of our capacity". It would be Pakistan's 13th bailout from the International Monetary Fund since the 1980s. "China doesn't want Pakistan to be uncomfortably dependent on it".

Regarding the second phase of the Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA), he said that both sides would try to wrap it up by April 2019.

Khan added that peace in Yemen is vital for regional stability.

Malik agreed: "The Pakistan military is the ultimate arbiter and the major stakeholder in the CPEC projects and it won't let the civilian government to do anything to undermine its close strategic alliance relationship with China", he said.

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