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Inaugural meeting of Pakistan-China Joint Working Group on International Cooperation
The inaugural meeting of the Joint Working Group on International Cooperation and Coordination (JWG-ICC) was held on 9th April in Beijing. The Pakistan side was led by Foreign Secretary, TehminaJanjua while the Chinese side was led by Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou.
Both sides expressed satisfaction at the steady progress being made on various CPEC projects and reaffirmed their resolve to maintain this momentum.
The two sides exchanged views and explored ways of developing joint proposals on international cooperation and coordination under CPEC. They rejected attempts to direct self-serving criticism against CPEC and BRI. It was agreed to counter such moves through joint efforts at various levels and modes.
The Joint Working Group on International Cooperation was instituted during the 8th CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee meeting in December 2018. The next meeting of the JWG-ICC will be held in Islamabad at a mutually convenient date.
First Meeting of the Political Parties Forum on CPEC Held in Beijing
On 19 March 2019, the First Meeting of the Political Parties Forum on CPEC was held in Beijing. The meeting was organised by the International Department of the CPC Central Committee at Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing.H.E. Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, along with H.E. Mr. Song Tao, Minister International Department of the CPC Central Committee, co-chaired the forum. The Foreign Minister and the Minister IDCPC also delivered their keynote speeches.
Addressing the Forum Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Qureshi said that the Forum would further enhance mutual understanding and reinforce our collective commitment to create a favourable environment for CPEC. He added that the platform would further strengthen the consensus between our two countries and reinforce our time-tested bilateral relations.
Welcoming the Foreign Minister Mr. Song Tao said that CPEC is the flagship project of BRI and the Forum would enhance people-to-people contacts and apprehend new trends for people-centric development in the region.
Deputy Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan Muhammad Qasim Khan Suri, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, and Chairman Senate CPEC Committee Senator Sherry Rahman led delegations of PTI, PML-N, and PPP respectively. Governor Balochistan Province Amanullah Khan led a combined delegation of political parties from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including representatives of ANP, NP, JUI-F, BAP, BNP, PPP, PTI and PkMAP. Representatives from IDCPC, NDRC, EXIM Bank, SOEs, think tanks and media also attended the forum from Chinese side.
During the forum, stakeholders from both sides exchanged in-depth views on the development of CPEC and its future trajectory. Deputy Speaker National Assembly Muhammad Qasim Khan Suri, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Senator Sherry Rehman, Governor Balochistan Ammanullah Khan, Jan Mohammad, Province Omar Ahmadzai, Shagufta Malik, Mohammad Akbar, Nasrullah Khan Barach, and Mahmood Ahmad shared views from Pakistan side.
Participants of the Forum expressed fullest support to the upcoming Second Forum of the Belt and Road Initiative that will be held in Beijing next month. At the end of the forum, all stakeholders unanimously adopted ‘Beijing Declaration’. The participants reiterated their unwavering commitment to CPEC. They agreed to further enhance intra-party exchanges, discussions and cooperation. They rejected negative propaganda against CPEC, which is an inclusive project of win-win cooperation, mutual development and prosperity.
The next meeting of the Forum would be held in Pakistan.
8th JCC HELD IN BEIJING
Federal Minister for Planning Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar has reiterated Pakistan’s firm commitment to CPEC which he termed as the heart and soul of Pakistan-China economic cooperation.
Mr. Bakhtyar made these remarks in Beijing at the 8th meeting of the CPEC JCC which he co-chaired with Chinese Vice Chairman of NDRC Mr. NingJizhe. Chief Minister of Sindh Mr. Murad Ali Shah, Chairman Board of Investment Mr. Haroon Sharif, and representatives of provincial governments and officials of both sides attended the meeting.
Appreciating the progress made in CPEC, Minister for Planning said, “the stage is now set to take it to the next level wherein the cooperation can be diversified to more trade and industrial cooperation, socio-economic development, agriculture, people-to-people interaction and knowledge sharing under the clear vision set by our leadership.”
Highlights of the JCC included conclusion of a MoU on Industrial Cooperation and establishing a cooperation framework on socioeconomic development. The MoU of industrial cooperation would include cooperation in diverse industries such as textiles, petrochemicals, iron and steel, and mines and minerals. Minister for Planning said that cooperation in industrial sector would help attract investment in special economic zones and encourage relocation of Chinese industry. Both sides agreed to cooperate to develop Special Economic Zones in a speedy manner. In the next phase of CPEC, two sides also agreed to cooperate in maritime sector, port development and automobile sector. Two sides discussed promoting joint ventures and industrial relocation from China to harness Pakistan’s export potential.
The two sides also held the first meeting of the recently established Joint Working Group on socioeconomic cooperation which discussed a detailed action plan in six areas for future cooperation such as education, agriculture, poverty alleviation, skill development, healthcare, water supply and vocational training projects. The two sides agreed on poverty alleviation demonstration projects in all regions of Pakistan. The first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Agriculture will take place early next year.
In his remarks, Mr. NingJizhe, Vice Chairman NDRC said that CPEC serves the fundamental interests of two countries and their peoples. Calling the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China as “phenomenal success” he expressed confidence that the Pakistan-China relationship would continue to grow and prosper.
While undertaking review of areas of cooperation under CPEC, the two sides expressed satisfaction and showed willingness to expedite work on all projects including Gwadar. Minister Bakhtyar said that Gwadar is the jewel of CPEC and with the development of its auxiliary projects, it is poised to become the next big economic and transshipment hub of the region.
Following the JCC meeting, NDRC Chairman He Lifeng hosted a banquet in honour of Minister Bakhtyar at Diaoyutai State Guest House. This was followed by a signing ceremony in which the MoU on Industrial Cooperation was signed.
The two sides have agreed to broaden the scope of CPEC and further strengthen the JCC mechanism through increased frequency of exchanges.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Media Forum Held in Beijing
The fourth China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Media Forum was held in Beijing on 16th November, 2018.
The event was organized by the Pakistan-China Institute and China Economic Net in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan. The purpose of the Media Forum was to promote news exchange and partnership between the media personnel of the two countries.
In the welcoming address, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman Pakistan China Institute, thanked the hosts and termed the 5 years since the initiation of Belt and Road Initiative and its flagship project CPEC as an era of a win win co-operation.He shed light on the significance of CPEC, stating that it was launched when no other country was ready to invest in Pakistan. He termed Belt and Road Initiative as a driver of globalization in 21st century thereby paving way for the rise of Asia.
Ambassador of Pakistan Masood Khalid appreciated the Media Forum for serving as a platform for Pakistani and Chinese scholars and journalists to exchange views on media collaboration and enhancing people to people contacts.
Ambassador noted that the China Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC) has elevated the already close friendship between Pakistan and China to “All-Weather Strategic Co-operative Partnership”. Ambassador said that in the changing media environment, media of both countries need to work proactively to give a positive projection by showing stories of human interest. Ambassador also termed the visit to China by the Prime Minister of Pakistan as a beacon of a new era of friendship between the two countries.
Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Dr. Shazra Kamran (former MNA), Mr. Jiang Heping, Director (CGTN) and Ms. Wang Dongmei, Executive Secretary, All China Journalists Association also addressed the Media Forum. The Panel Sessions were addressed by renowned academicians and journalists from Pakistan and China, followed by an interactive and informative discussion by the panelists.
Earlier “CPEC Communication Award” for the CPEC best investigative story of the year was awarded to Pakistani and Chinese journalists.
The media Forum was attended well by parliamentarians, journalists, think-tanks representatives, analysts and academicians from Pakistan and China.
CHINA-PAKISTAN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR (CPEC)
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor marks a new phase in the relationship of two countries by placing economic cooperation and connectivity at the center of bilateral agenda. It is an economic partnership to transform Pakistan into a geo-economic hub. It was formally launched by the two countries in 2013. CPEC aims at greater connectivity and trade linkages between Pakistan and China through a 2700 km stretch of network comprising roads, rail, fiber optic, energy pipelines, industrial clusters and Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Once completed, CPEC will connect Kashgar region in China with Gwadar region in Pakistan. CPEC will augment the trade potential of China and Pakistan with the rest of the world by linking China with Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf. This way, it will directly benefit billions of people inhabiting China, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
The vision of CPEC is to improve socio-economic conditions of our people and to enhance connectivity. It includes:
- Integrated Transport & IT systems including Road, Rail, Port, Air and Data Communication Channels
- Energy cooperation
- Spatial layout, functional zones, industries and industrial parks
- Agricultural development & poverty alleviation
- Tourism cooperation & people to people communication
- Financial cooperation
- Human Resource Development
The two sides have agreed on 1+4 cooperation format with priority areas of: (i) developing and operationalizing Gwadar Port on modern lines (ii) building infrastructure, (iii) creating energy and trade corridor for China through Pakistan and (iv) enhancing Chinese investment in Pakistan through construction of Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones. Projects in these sectors include government to government cooperation, private sector collaboration and equity investment by Chinese companies. The two Governments are working for the completion of these projects according to agreed timelines. The cumulative investment in these projects by China is estimated to be over US $46 billion.
The economic opportunities for China and Pakistan under CPEC are enormous. By providing cheaper routes for transportation of goods through Gwadar port, CPEC brings the promise of infrastructure development, energy generation and enhanced connectivity. The Chinese companies can take advantage from key sectors of Pakistan like agriculture, textiles, minerals, gemstones, marble and stoneware, leatherwear, food processing, sports goods and surgical instruments. It is a win-win proposition as the profit margin on doing business in Pakistan is high and the Government offers liberal incentives for Chinese investors.
For the implementation of CPEC, the two countries have established a Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC). It is co-chaired by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform (MPD&R) on Pakistan side and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Chinese side. Meetings of JCC are held at regular intervals to take stock of CPEC Projects and to develop blueprint for the future. Following is the breakdown of JCC meetings held so far:
- i. 1st JCC was held on 27th August 2013 in Islamabad
- ii. 2nd JCC was held on 19 February 2014 in Beijing
- iii. 3rd JCC was held on 27 August 2014 in Beijing
- iv. 4th JCC was held on 25th March 2015 in Beijing
- v. 5th JCC was held on 12th November 2015 in Karachi
- vi. 6th JCC was held on 29 December 2016 in Beijing
JCC has established Joint Working Groups covering specific areas to ensure smooth implementation of CPEC Projects. These are:
- i. Planning Working Group
- ii. Energy Working Group
- iii. Transport Infrastructure Working Group
- iv. Gwadar Working Group
- v. Industrial Parks/Economic Zones Working Group
- vi. Working Group on Long Term Plan
Conclusion of the 6th Meeting of Joint Cooperation Committee
The 6th meeting of the Join Cooperation Committee (JCC) on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was held in Beijing on 29 December 2016. The meeting was co-chaired by Professor Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform (MPD &R) of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Mr. Wang Xiaotao, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of the People’s Republic of China.
Federal Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique, Chief Ministers, Sindh Mr. Murad Ali Shah, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mr. Pervez Khattak, Balochistan Sardar Sanullah Zehri and Gilgit-Baltistan Mr. Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rahman, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and Chairman Board of Investment Dr. Miftah Ismail, besides concerned Federal Secretaries and officials also participated in the JCC.
The meeting was held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere. Both sides underscored the significance of CPEC for both countries to integrate with regional economies and become a model for win-win cooperation. The two sides reviewed the progress achieved after the 5th JCC meeting.
During the JCC, Pakistan and China discussed inter-alia; progress on long-term plan for CPEC, energy cooperation, transport infrastructure, Gwadar and Industrial cooperation. The two sides expressed satisfaction over the progress achieved on projects relating to the energy cooperation and transport infrastructure while emphasizing on the need to speed up the work on projects concerning Gwadar and Industrial Cooperation. The two sides also discussed the way forward for effective and timely implementation of various projects under CPEC.
Following the conclusion of the JCC, the two sides signed minutes of the meetings of JCC and various Joint Working Groups , Agreements and MoUs relating to transport infrastructure, Gwadar and transmission line. It was decided that the next (7th) JCC will be held in Islamabad this year, the dates for which will be decided by the two sides through mutual consultations.