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Pakistan, China seek to strengthen ties as Fm Bilawal Bhutto and Wang Yi hold talks in Guangzhou

Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, will hold talks in the Chinese city of Guangzhou on Sunday to cement the enduring ties between the two countries. This is Bilawal’s first visit to China after taking over as foreign minister after the fall of Imran Khan’s government.

Their meeting was held in Guangzhou as Beijing is currently in semi-lockdown to contain the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of COVID-19. “I landed in Guangzhou on my first bilateral visit. Today also marks the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China. I look forward to meeting Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi for in-depth discussions on Pakistan-China relations”. , Bilawal tweeted.
The 33-year-old, whose mother Benazir Bhutto and grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto were former prime ministers, has just returned from New York where he met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed the strengthening of US-Pakistani relations which deteriorated during the former regime of Imran Khan. In his media interviews after his talks with Blinken, Bilawal ruled out that Pakistan’s growing relationship with the United States would hurt its ties with Beijing.

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Bilawal is accompanied by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and senior officials, Pakistani state news agency APP reported earlier. Ahead of his visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Saturday congratulated Pakistan and China on the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

“Congratulations! May 21 is the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan. FM Bilawal will visit China from May 21. #Thisisdoublehappiness,” he tweeted from his official account. . Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s two-day visit marks the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.

On May 21, 1951, Pakistan and China established diplomatic relations almost a year after India. India became the first non-Communist country in Asia to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China on April 1, 1950.

Bilawal previously held talks with Wang via video link on May 12, followed by a virtual meeting between Sharif and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Their talks focused on strengthening the security protection of Chinese citizens and institutions in Pakistan in light of the spate of attacks against Chinese nationals, including the recent suicide bombing at the University of Karachi, and over the revitalization of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is mired in delays. India has protested to China as CPEC is set up in Pakistani-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The close ties between Pakistan and China over the past four decades, widely believed to be aimed at countering India, have remained steady despite periodic political crisis in Pakistan leading to change of government, including that of military rulers. During their talks, Bilawal and Wang will review the full gamut of bilateral relations, with a particular focus on boosting trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and China, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

In April, Bilawal’s predecessor Shah Mehmood Qureshi, during his visit to China, announced that Beijing had agreed to roll over the $4.5 billion debt that was due to be paid by Pakistan this year. On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Bilawal’s visit will see his hope of taking China as the first destination of his overseas visits come true and will also mark the first in-person interaction. level between the two countries since the establishment of the new Pakistani government. shape.

“As all-weather strategic cooperative partners, it is necessary for China and Pakistan to strengthen communication and coordination on major strategic issues and jointly respond to new developments in the international and regional situation and various risks and challenges,” said Wang Wenbin. He said Wang Yi will hold a full and in-depth exchange of views with Bilawal on bilateral relations and issues of common concern.

“China hopes to take this visit as an opportunity to renew our traditional friendship, consolidate strategic mutual trust, further deepen our all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, and build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era. “said the spokesperson. mentioned.


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