As his first official bilateral visit after taking office as Pakistani foreign minister, Bilalwal Bhutto Zardari met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Guangzhou on May 22nd. Wang said that this visit “carries forward the fine tradition of friendly exchanges between China and Pakistan… China and Pakistan are true friends sharing weal and woe and good brothers having a heart-to-heart affinity.”
For his part, Bilalwal said that: “Pakistan and China enjoy time-honoured amicable relations. I am particularly proud that all three generations of my family are firmly committed to the Pakistan-China friendship. As an ‘ironclad’ friend, Pakistan is heartened by China’s great achievements and firmly believes that no force can stop China from forging ahead.”
Bilalwal’s father Asif Ali Zardari, former president, his late mother Benazir Bhutto, and especially his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, both former Prime Ministers, as well as the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) they have led, have all made major contributions to the development of the friendly relations between Pakistan and China, together with successive generations of Chinese leaders, over more than half a century.
The two foreign ministers affirmed their will to further promote cooperation through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and the Global Security Initiative (GSI).
A joint statement released by the two countries following the talks noted that the visit coincided with the 71st anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations and touched on a number of other issues, including defence cooperation, the Ukraine crisis and the situations in Jammu & Kashmir and Afghanistan.
The following report of the talks between Bilalwal and Wang and the full text of their joint statement were originally published on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
On May 22, 2022, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Guangzhou.
Wang Yi said, China welcomes the fact that Bilawal carries forward the fine tradition of friendly exchanges between China and Pakistan, and paid a visit to China, which was his first official bilateral visit after taking office as foreign minister. China appreciates the new Pakistani government’s firm commitment to developing the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries. China and Pakistan are true friends sharing weal and woe and good brothers having a heart-to-heart affinity. The friendship between China and Pakistan, jointly nurtured by several generations of leaders of the two countries, remains strong with new vitality. History has witnessed and will continue to witness that no matter how the international landscape may evolve, China-Pakistan relations are rock-solid and unshakable. China is ready to, as always, prioritize Pakistan in its neighborhood diplomacy, and join hands with Pakistan to meet risks and challenges, continuously consolidate the “ironclad” friendship between China and Pakistan, let the building of a China-Pakistan community with a shared future take root, make China-Pakistan relations a powerful stabilizing factor in the region, and enable China-Pakistan cooperation to provide more robust vitality for regional development and revitalization.
Wang Yi said, China is ready to maintain the momentum of high-level interaction with Pakistan, strengthen strategic communication, consolidate strategic mutual trust and deepen strategic cooperation, so as to continuously inject strong impetus into the development of bilateral relations. China will, as always, firmly support Pakistan in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, maintaining unity and stability, and taking a development path in line with its own national conditions. China believes that the two sides will continue to stand firmly together on issues involving each other’s core interests and major concerns.
Wang Yi stressed, against the current backdrop of the increasingly grave counterterrorism situation, the two sides should strengthen cooperation and take all necessary measures to resolutely prevent security incidents against Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Pakistan from happening again. China will continue to assist Pakistan in combating terrorism, and support Pakistan in strengthening comprehensive policies to eradicate the breeding ground of terrorism.
Bilawal said, China is the first country I visited after taking office as foreign minister. Pakistan and China enjoy time-honored amicable relations. I am particularly proud that all three generations of my family are firmly committed to the Pakistan-China friendship. As an “ironclad” friend, Pakistan is heartened by China’s great achievements and firmly believes that no force can stop China from forging ahead. Developing amicable relations with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy and an inevitable choice for Pakistan. Pakistan firmly adheres to the one-China principle, firmly supports China in safeguarding all core interests, and is ready to make joint efforts with China to strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges and personnel exchanges, so that the friendship between the two countries can be passed down from generation to generation.
Bilawal once again strongly condemned the Karachi terrorist attack, expressed condolences over the death of Chinese personnel caused by the terrorist attack, and stressed that the new Pakistani government has made effective protection of the safety of all Chinese citizens in Pakistan the highest priority at present, and is making every effort to speed up the investigation and hunting down of the perpetrators and will give exemplary punishment to them. Pakistan will formulate a national “enhanced version” of the work plan to form greater synergy to resolutely curb the rising trend of terrorist activities, eliminate the threat of terrorism, and never allow similar incidents to happen again.
The two sides expressed satisfaction with the sound development momentum of China-Pakistan economic and trade cooperation, and agreed to deepen all-round pragmatic cooperation, advance the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) safely, smoothly and with high quality, step up the implementation of cooperation on existing large projects, and ensure sound implementation of livelihood projects, so as to better benefit ordinary people.
The two sides agreed to strengthen coordination in multilateral fields, promote the implementation of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and the Global Security Initiative (GSI), and build more international consensus. The two sides also need to strengthen communication and collaboration within the frameworks of the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Group of 77 to safeguard the common interests of developing countries. Bilawal said, the GDI put forward by President Xi Jinping with great vision is very timely and necessary and will help all parties implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Pakistan has joined the Group of Friends of GDI and is ready to take the opportunity of building the CPEC to demonstrate the positive effects and concrete results of the GDI. Pakistan firmly supports the GSI and stands ready to jointly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and achieve common security.
Both sides agreed to continue to strengthen cooperation in pandemic response. Wang Yi expounded on the importance, necessity and positive results of China’s commitment to the dynamic zero-COVID policy. Bilawal said, Pakistan fully understands and supports China’s pandemic measures, and the Chinese government is truly acting on the philosophy of putting people and their lives front and center, which is admirable. Facts have proved that the dynamic zero-COVID policy is effective and has also inspired Pakistan. Pakistan resolutely opposes politicizing the pandemic.
The two sides also exchanged views on the Afghan issue and agreed to promote the implementation of the outcomes of the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the Afghan Issue Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan, so as to help Afghanistan achieve long-term peace and stability.
After the talks, the two sides issued a joint statement, and jointly met the press and answered questions.
China-Pakistan Joint Statement
22 May 2022
1. At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister H.E. Wang Yi, H.E. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited Guangzhou, China, on 21-22 May 2022 for his first official bilateral visit after taking office as Foreign Minister of Pakistan. The visit coincided with the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Pakistan.
2. During the visit, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held in-depth discussions on the entire gamut of bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of shared interest. The talks were conducted in a warm and friendly atmosphere, in line with the finest tradition of mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries.
3. The two sides agreed that amidst profound regional and international changes, the importance of China-Pakistan strategic relations has assumed evengreater significance. As All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partners, China and Pakistan share ironclad mutual trust and friendship, which is a source of peace, stability, and prosperity for the region and beyond. Both sides reaffirmed their strong support for each other’s core interests and major concerns, and commitment to deepening strategic communication including at the highest political level and practical cooperation, and building an even stronger China-Pakistan Community with a Shared Future in the New Era.
4. The two sides noted with satisfaction the steady growth of economic cooperation between China and Pakistan. In this context, they agreed that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has effectively improved Pakistan’s infrastructure and boosted its socio-economic development. Both sides expressed firm resolve to synergizing development strategies, pushing forward all CPEC projects in a safe, smooth, and high-quality manner, promoting cooperation in areas such as economy and trade, investment, industry, agriculture, health, and science and technology, contributing to the peoples’ well-being and delivering greater benefits to local communities.
5. Noting with satisfaction the record bilateral trade achieved last year, the two sides agreed to work together to make optimum use of phase-II of CPFTA and work together to diversify their trade ties with deepening cooperation in export-oriented sectors in Pakistanand integrating value chains of the two countries. Both sides also agreed on stronger collaboration in the services sector and skill development in the areas of tourism, education, financial and information technology sectors.
6. The two sides expressed satisfaction at the growing momentum of bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges. They underlined that China-Pakistan defense cooperation is in fact a factor of peace and stability in the region.
7. The two sides termed terrorism as the common enemy of humanity. They once again strongly condemned the Karachi University Confucius Institute terrorist attack. Pakistanreiterated that efforts will be made to speed up investigation, hunt down the culprits, and bring them to justice. Pakistan briefed the Chinese side on its efforts to ensure the safety of all Chinese nationals, projects, and institutions in the country. China appreciated Pakistan’s commitment to the safety and security of Chinese nationals. Pakistan and China will further enhance counter-terrorism and security cooperation. The two sides called on the regional countries and the international community to form synergy and fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The two sides expressed their determination not to allow anyone to damage China-Pakistan iron brotherhood.
8. In the face of multiple traditional and non-traditional global challenges, the two sides agreed on the need for international cooperation and solidarity. They noted that, based on the principles of win-win cooperation and shared benefits, Belt and Road cooperation has become an open and inclusive platform for international cooperation and is widely welcomed as a global public good. The China-proposed Global Development Initiative (GDI) and Global Security Initiative (GSI) are new initiatives to respond to the pressing challenges facing the humanity. Both countries stand ready to work with other countries to focus on the development agenda, tackle security challenges, implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.
9. The two sides discussed the Ukraine situation, noting the necessity of being alert to the negative spillovers of the Ukraine crisis, in particular preventing its impact on developing countries, and called on relevant parties involved in the conflict to resolve differences and disputes through diplomacy and dialogue.
10. The two sides reaffirmed the firm commitment to upholding the UN-centered international system, the international order based on international law, and the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, practicing true multilateralism, and promoting democracy and rule of law in international relations.
11. The two sides underscored that Asia, with its rich history, civilizational heritage and growing economic potential, is playing a leading role for peace, prosperity, and economic development in the region and beyond. The two sides hoped that in the pursuance of these cherished goals, the regional countries would uphold Asian values of mutual respect, equality and win-win cooperation, and build an open and inclusive regional architecture, safeguard peace and stability in the region, and advance common development and prosperity.
12. Both sides reiterated that a peaceful and prosperous South Asia is in the common interest of all parties. Given the challenges faced by the peoples of the region, due to global pandemic, soaring commodity prices, climate change and poverty, it is critical to resolve all outstanding disputes to promote regional cooperation and advance the goals of lasting peace, stability and shared prosperity. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari briefed the Chinese side about the latest developments in Jammu & Kashmir. The two sides underlined the importance of the peaceful resolution of the dispute based on the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.
13. The two sides discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan. The two sides agreed that peace and stability in Afghanistan is vital for regional development and prosperity. The two sides call upon the Afghan interim government to develop a broad-based and inclusive political structure, adopt moderate and sound internal and external policies, and protect the rights of women and children and ensure that the Afghan soil is not used against any of its neighbors. Both sides call on the international community to help avert humanitarian crisis and earnestly honor the pledges on Afghanistan’s economic reconstruction and future development. Both sides support the continued contribution of the mechanism of coordination and cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighboring countries and expressed readiness to work with all parties to implement the Tunxi Initiative of the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan on Supporting Economic Reconstruction in and Practical Cooperation with Afghanistan and provide all possible support for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan. The two sides also reiterated their readiness to extend CPEC to Afghanistan in consultation with the Afghan interim government and to the mutual benefit of all parties.
14. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari thanked State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for the safe and secure return of Pakistani students in a phased manner to China. The two sides also decided to resume direct flight between the two countries carried out by Pakistan airlines at the earliest and subsequently increase direct flights based on the evolving pandemic situation.
15. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari thanked State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for the hospitality extended to him and his delegation in the finest Chinese tradition of hospitality. H.E. Wang Yi accepted his invitation to visit Pakistan for Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue.