China is ready to enhance all-round strategic cooperation and economic ties with its “all weather” ally Pakistan, vice-premier Wang Yang said on Monday as he attended the country’s Independence Day celebrations here. Wang, a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of China’s ruling Communist Party, is among the country’s top leaders. Addressing the Independence Day ceremony as the ‘special guest’, he said China stands with Pakistan in its efforts to achieve progress and development.
“We have forged an allweather friendship that is higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey, and engaged in all-round cooperation, setting a shining example of friendly state-to-state relations,” he said, with Pakistan president Mamnoon Hussain and the new prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi by his side. China is ready to strengthen all-round economic cooperation with Pakistan, Wang said.
“China sees Pakistan as an important partner in the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said, referring to the pet project of Chinese president Xi Jinping. He said the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would enhance Pakistan’s capacity for independent development and deliver tangible benefits to the people along the route and all the people in Pakistan.
India has opposed the CPEC as it traverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Wang praised Sino-Pakistani ties, saying, “What we have between China and Pakistan is a friendship based on shared aspirations and tested in adversity.
It will not only last a lifetime, but also be passed on from generation to generation. “No matter how the international environment may evolve and how China may grow, we will always be a good neighbor, a close friend, a trusted partner and a true brother for Pakistan,” the senior Chinese leader said, amidst the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Doklam area. Wang is accompanying a high-level Chinese delegation and expected to sign a few bilateral agreements.
He is also expected to inaugurate projects related to the CPEC – a part of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. He said China would support Pakistan’s efforts to pursue the fight against terrorism as per its national interest. He also noted that over the past seven decades, the Pakistani people have “resolutely defended their national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity against hegemony, power politics and external interference,” achieving success in safeguarding the country’s core interests and national dignity.