ISLAMABAD   -   Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday pledged to build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era. In a telephonic conversation, the two recalled that during the past 70 years since the establishment of China-Pakistan diplomatic ties, no matter how the international situation may change, the two sides had always stood side by side in weal and woe. Both the leaders agreed to further strengthen bilateral economic and commercial ties, including full realization of the potential offered by the Phase-II of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement.

The two leaders agreed to strengthen Pakistan-China cooperation in the relevant areas and to promote China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s green development as a high quality demonstration of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The two leaders also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and called upon the international community to provide immediate humanitarian and economic assistance to the people of Afghanistan, said an official statement.

This week, a Chinese company restarted work at the CPEC’s 4,320-megawatt Dasu hydropower project. The work was stopped after 13 people including nine Chinese workers were killed in Dasu bus incident. The Chinese authorities had demanded adequate security arrangements to resume work.

During the telephone call, President Xi Jinping told PM Khan that China and Pakistan had worked together to tackle risks and challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, through which strategic mutual trust has been consolidated and strategic cooperation deepened.

He added that history had fully proved that the two countries are each other’s most reliable iron-clad brother.

“The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, with more sources of turbulence and risks around the world,” he said, according to an official statement.

Under the new circumstances, President Xi Jinping called on the two countries to stand together even more firmly and push forward the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two sides, and build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era.

He stressed that China supports Pakistan in exploring a development path suited to its own national conditions and is willing to share China’s high-quality development opportunities with Pakistan.

The two sides should maintain close strategic communication, further synergize development strategies and enhance the sharing of experience on governance, Xi Jinping noted.

He said that China will continue to support Pakistan in its fight against COVID-19, jointly build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor with high quality and strengthen their cooperation in such fields as agriculture, digital economy and people’s livelihood.

“We will continue to unleash the positive effects of the corridor in promoting growth and improving people’s well-being,” he said.

Xi Jinping noted that the two sides should strengthen counter-terrorism and security cooperation.

“China is ready to work with Pakistan to enhance multilateral coordination, practice genuine multilateralism and promote international equity and justice, so as to safeguard common interests and safeguard world peace and stability,” he said.

Expressing his views, Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed for continuing the momentum of high-level exchanges to further diversify “All Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership” between Pakistan and China.

The Prime Minister lauded the successful, timely and high-quality implementation of the CPEC projects, and welcomed Chinese investments in the CPEC Special Economic Zones.

He underscored that early start of work on the ML-1 railway project would complement Pakistan’s geo-economics vision for national and regional development.

Imran Khan appreciated China’s successful containment of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as relief and assistance measures for the developing countries, including the vaccine cooperation with Pakistan.