All set for PM’s crucial China visit

ISLAMABAD   -   Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is set to fly to China on a crucial visit early next month, close aides said on Thursday.

Although the schedule has not been announced officially, Prime Minister Sharif is likely to visit China on June 4-7.

The PM will engage in important discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Qiang among others. Key topics on the agenda include the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and other pertinent issues.

This potential visit would mark PM Sharif’s inaugural trip to Beijing since he assumed office following the general elections on February 8. The visit is crucial as it comes amid economic challenges for Pakistan. China has already rolled over its $2 billion loan to Pakistan to provide much needed relief.

Presently, the prime minister is on a one-day visit to the United Arab Emirates, to meet the President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar concluded a four-day visit to Beijing, where he co-chaired the Fifth Pakistan-China Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

During this dialogue, Pakistan and China reaffirmed their commitment to expediting CPEC projects across various sectors.

This commitment was reiterated in a meeting between Pakistan’s Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal and the Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission Zhao Chenxin.

The two sides agreed to implement the Industrial Cooperation Framework Agreement and develop an action plan to modernize industry, mining, and mineral sectors, with a focus on artificial intelligence and agricultural modernization in CPEC’s second phase.

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