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Pakistan, China agree to enhance bilateral economic cooperation

Islamabad, China and Pakistan have agreed to strengthen mutual strategic cooperation.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is on a three-day official visit to Pakistan, and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held a joint press conference at the Foreign Office after they had a one-on-one meeting and held delegation-level talks.

Qureshi, while addressing the presser, said the two sides discussed various matters of mutual interest, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He said the two sides had discussed special economic zones along with the CPEC during their meeting today.

'China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is vital for socio-economic development of Pakistan and it will prove to be a game changer to the region,' he said. He added that CPEC is 'proof' that the belt program is a sustainable initiative.

He said both countries agreed to advance peace in Afghanistan. He lauded Pakistan' sacrifices against war on terror.

The minister added that the Chinese foreign minister had extended an invitation to Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit an expo in China in November as a guest of honour. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang were also invited to visit Pakistan.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the media that Beijing will support Pakistan in developing its industrial sector as well as increasing exports to China.

'China will give a lot of sustenance to encourage imports from Pakistan,' he said. 'We have decided to strive for a greater balance in two-way trade. China will earmark amounts of subsidiaries to encourage imports from Pakistan and will send more tread coalition teams to Pakistan. 'We will also broaden the market access to Pakistan's competitive agricultural products.'

'The two sides will work to complete negotiations to upright the FTA by the end of this year to further enhance the level of trade,' he added.

'China will support Pakistan in developing the industry sector,' he said, adding that development-oriented cooperation was focused on during the meeting.

He said that he was visiting the country to renew China's commitment to Pakistan and that China stands firmly by Islamabad as its counterpart.

'China and Pakistan are close friends. Our friendship has stood the test of time,' he said while stressing the need of enhanced strategic communication between the two sides.

'China will help Pakistan develop a local manufacturing centre,' he added.

In addition to meeting his Pakistani counterpart, the Chinese FM will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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