This year, we are celebrating 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China, formally established on 21st May, 1951. Our deep-rooted and ironclad relationship, over the years, has been nurtured by successive generations of leaders and people of both countries and has been transformed into an “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership.”
This is my second tenure as Pakistan’s Foreign Minister and I have had the honor to intimately witness the depth and breadth of Pakistan-China ties and its centrality in our national priorities. I have also seen that both Pakistan and China have been friends in weal and woe and have made collective efforts to protect and preserve our interests.
Together we have made efforts to promote peace, stability, and security in a complex regional environment. In the past 70 years, the spectrum of relationship has become broad and multifaceted. Our relations in trade, finance, economy, development, education, science and technology, agriculture, defence and security have expanded enormously.
In recent years, people-to-people and cultural ties have deepened a great deal. Currently, around 30,000 Pakistani students are studying in China, benefiting from China’s advanced educational system. We have established seven sister-province and fourteen sister-city relationships with China.
Seven Pakistan study centers, eleven Urdu language departments in various Chinese universities, and five Confucius Institutes in Pakistan are promoting cultural understanding between the two counties. China is our largest trade and investment partner.
Bilateral trade has grown manifold over the years and the 2nd Phase of China Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) has opened up many avenues of growth and development. CPEC, high-quality demonstration project of Belt and Road Initiative, is a transformational project.
It has entered its second phase with vigorous focus on industrialization, agricultural expansion and socio-economic development. We hope that the CPEC’s Special Economic Zones will rejuvenate Pakistan’s process of industrialization and spur rapid economic growth. We are grateful to China for gifting us vaccine to fight COVID-19.
We have also placed orders to commercially procure COVID vaccine from China and I am glad that China has been making tireless efforts to meet our requirements enabling us to fight the pandemic and save precious lives.
On the 70th anniversary, we celebrate our historic ties, pay tribute to our veteran leaders for their contributions to solidify this unique relationship and renew our resolve to build upon the achievements of last 70 years.
I and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi jointly launched 70th anniversary celebrations in an online ceremony on 2 March 2021. The same day, we authored articles published in national newspapers epitomizing our common struggles in strengthening this relationship.
Both sides have planned a range of activities, spread throughout the year, to mark this historic occasion. We have also requested our federating units to befittingly celebrate this historic moment. We remain committed to building a closer China-Pakistan Community of Shared Future in the New Era aimed at further reinforcing our deep-rooted ties.