Qureshi leaves for ‘very important’ China visit to represent Pakistan’s civil, military stance

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has left for a two-day visit to China to attend the second round of the China-Pakistan secretary of state s’ Strategic Dialogue, a press release from the ministry said on Thursday.

In a video message released before his departure, the secretary of state said he was happening a “very important trip to China” which he had a discussion with Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan before leaving.

I am leaving on a really important visit to China. I had a discussion with the prime minister regarding this visit yesterday. My delegation will represent the stance of the political and military leadership of the country. i’m hopeful that my meeting with secretary of state Wang Yi will convince be beneficial for both countries,” Qureshi said.

Qureshi, who is amid senior officials, will visit China’s Hainan province where he will lead the Pakistani delegation within the dialogue, the FO statement added. he’s scheduled to return tomorrow (Aug 21).

State Councillor and secretary of state Wang Yi will lead the Chinese side during the dialogue, consistent with the statement.

“During the dialogue, each side will discuss cooperation on COVID-19, bilateral relations and regional and international problems with mutual interest,” the FO said.

“The visit will play a crucial role in further strengthening Pakistan-China ‘All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership’ and deepen strategic communication and coordination with China on a variety of issues.”

The first round of the China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue happened in March 2019 during which each side vowed to guard the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) from “all sorts of threats”.

Reports emerging on Wednesday suggested the secretary of state will “hold meetings together with his Chinese counterpart and senior leadership while important decisions are going to be taken regarding the visit of the Chinese president to Pakistan.”

He was also expected to call upon Chinese President Xi Jinping during the trip.

The trip comes after PM Imran, earlier in the week , said it should be clear that Islamabad’s future is tied to Beijing which has stood by Pakistan through thick and thin.

Speaking to senior journalist Kamran Khan during a wide-ranging interview, he said that both countries recognised each other’s importance and were further strengthening mutual ties. “Unfortunately, western countries are using India against China,” he added.

The premier also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping was scheduled to go to Pakistan in May this year but his visit was delayed thanks to the coronavirus outbreak. “His visit is now expected towards the top of the year.”

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