Working Together for a Shared Future

May the China-Pakistan diplomatic relations remain everlasting. Long live China-Pakistan!

Pakistan is the first country in the Muslim world to formally recognize and officially establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China on 21 May 1951. The 1.4 billion Chinese people will never ever forget this. Under the able leadership of generations of both countries, China and Pakistan have been standing by each other while navigating the vicissitudes of the international landscape. This relationship has weathered all storms and withstood the test of time. During its 73-year journey, it has always been at the forefront and set a shining example for state-to-state relations.

Over the past 73 years, China and Pakistan have remained good neighbours, partners, and friends and treated each other with sincerity and respect. The two sides have met the original aspirations of diplomacy and have always respected and supported each other’s development endeavours. Pakistan has firmly adhered to the One-China principle and provided whole-heart support to China on issues involving the latter’s core interests. China has reciprocated Pakistan in helping safeguard its national sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, supportive of the latter to play a greater role in international and regional affairs. China and Pakistan have carried forward the “iron core” friendship and deepened the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.

Over the past 73 years, the two countries have maintained high-level contacts and enhanced mutual political trust. Since 2013, the President of Pakistan has paid state visits or attended events in China six times, and the Prime Minister has visited China or attended meetings as many as twelve times. In 2015, President Xi Jinping paid his state visit to Pakistan, and the two sides uplifted the bilateral ties to an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership. In early June this year, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will undertake his first official visit to China after the formation of the PML(N)-led coalition government in Islamabad in March.

Over the past 73 years, China and Pakistan have remained good partners for win-win cooperation. The trade volume between the two countries has grown from more than 10 million US dollars at the beginning to over 20 billion US dollars today. As a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has been steadily advanced, promoting Pakistan’s economic development, and bringing tangible benefits to the local people. One week ago, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar visited Beijing and co-chaired with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, his Chinese counterpart, the Fifth China-Pakistan FMs’ Strategic Dialogue. Both sides agreed to accelerate progress on major connectivity projects including the upgradation of ML-1, the Gwadar Port, the realignment of Karakoram Highway Phase II, strengthen cooperation in agriculture, industrial parks, mining, information technology and other fields, and enhance Pakistan’s capacity for sustainable development.

The year 2024 also marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Through 75 years of persistent hard work, the Chinese people have, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, turned China from a backward and impoverished country into the world’s second-largest economy. Several hundred million people in rural areas were lifted out of poverty, a miracle in the history of humanity. The Chinese economy registered 5.2% growth in 2023 and is expected to grow by around 5% in 2024 with greater progress toward high-quality development. China will remain a source of global growth and create more opportunities for all countries.

One thing that has made China’s remarkable development possible is to align its development with security imperatives. We believe that security and development are like two wings of one bird and two wheels of one vehicle. On one hand, security is an essential prerequisite for development. Only with national security and social stability can the economy and society enjoy sustainable development. On the other, development provides a guarantee for security. Only by promoting sustained socioeconomic development can we build a solid material foundation for national prosperity, people’s happiness and well-being, and social harmony and political stability. Development that ignores security has hidden dangers and is unsustainable. Going forward, we must not only promote development with security but also ensure security with development.

The 26 March Bisham terrorist attack, claiming 5 innocent Chinese engineers, has again exposed the ugliness of the terrorism menace in Pakistan as facing the CPEC. China strongly condemns the cowardly attack and hopes that Pakistan will swiftly bring the culprits to exemplary justice and proceed to take all possible measures to ensure maximum security and safety of the Chinese personnel, institutions, and projects in Pakistan. We do recognize Pakistan’s contributions and sacrifices in combating terrorism over the years and stand ready to strengthen bilateral cooperation to flush out the terrorism menace in the country, making sure any future attempt to undermine China-Pakistan cooperation will never succeed.

At present, both China and Pakistan stand at an important stage of development. China is pursuing high-quality development and promoting high-standard opening up and is working to build itself into a great modern socialist country in all respects and advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through Chinese modernization. Pakistan, on its part, is making every single effort for socioeconomic transformation and greater development. I have full confidence in this shared noble cause for China and Pakistan and believe that the unbreakable and long-standing friendship will prosper and reach a new height with each passing day.

Let each and every soul of both countries work for a better and shared future of this common community.

May the China-Pakistan diplomatic relations remain everlasting. Long live China-Pakistan!

Zhao Shiren
The writer is the Consul General of China in Lahore.

Zhao Shiren, Chinese Consul General in Lahore.

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