Want investment, not handouts from China: PM

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Monday that “we don’t want donations but investments from our Chinese friends”.

Prime Minister Shehbaz said that given China’s immense progress over the past three decades, Pakistan was interested in learning from Beijing’s reform experience, especially in trade and agriculture. Addressing leaders of major Chinese companies and investors, the prime minister said Pakistan looks to China for support in all walks of life to ensure sustainable development. Prime Minister Sharif said China’s development is a model to be emulated in the fields of industry, trade, information technology and agriculture.

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He said in the context of a trusting friendship between the two countries, it was an opportunity for Pakistan to learn from China’s experience on reforms in areas of public interest. He stressed the need to promote bilateral trade by improving the level of exports and imports in various fields.

He said Pakistan was also interested in learning skills from China for enriching its energy resources. Prime Minister Sharif thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for his support to Pakistan in the form of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which he said was helping Pakistan move from the front.

He viewed President Xi as a visionary leader and recalled that he signed several projects with then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to improve Pakistan’s power generation to tackle the energy crisis. He said he believed that the friendship between Pakistan and China would develop over time to benefit their nations.

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In addition, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday during which the two leaders discussed bilateral relations and issues of common concern, including the Afghan situation and the Ukrainian crisis. Prime Minister Johnson reiterated his congratulations to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on his election and assumption of office and underlined the UK’s desire to further strengthen its bilateral relationship with Pakistan.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif sent his congratulations to the UK on the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the Queen’s coronation. The two leaders stressed the importance of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the UK in an appropriate manner. The prime minister said Pakistan attached great importance to its relationship with the UK, which was based on historical ties and converging interests on a wide range of issues. The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to strengthen its ties with the UK in various fields, with special emphasis on strengthening partnership in trade and investment.

Highlighting the long-standing ties between Pakistan and the UK, the Prime Minister appreciated the positive role played by 1.6 million Pakistani diasporas in forging closer ties and building bridges between the two countries. He further underlined the need to strengthen cooperation in the field of legal migration to realize the full potential. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stressed the importance of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) between Pakistan and the UK and suggested developing a 10-year roadmap to move the relationship forward in various areas.

He stressed that ESD should deepen mutual engagement and the bilateral partnership should be elevated to the next level. The Prime Minister also appreciated the work undertaken by the UK to promote education, health and other social sectors in Pakistan. In the regional context, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stressed the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the need to intensify efforts to avert humanitarian crisis.

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