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China hails Pakistan’s help in Afghan peace parleys 

Ufa (Russia), July 10 (IANS)¬†Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in pushing forward the Afghan peace process.

Xi made the remarks in a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit here, which is set to start procedures for granting India and Pakistan full membership, Xinhua news agency reported.

China, Xi said, appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in pushing forward the Afghan peace process, and would work together with Pakistan to play a constructive role in helping Afghanistan realise national reconciliation and peaceful development at an early date.

Welcoming Pakistan into the SCO, Xi said: “China is willing to maintain close cooperation with Pakistan within the SCO framework.”

India and Pakistan are now among the five observers of the SCO, which currently groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Beijing attached great importance to relations with Pakistan and always regarded their bilateral ties as a foreign policy priority, said the Chinese president.

“We will make joint efforts to enrich the connotation of the China-Pakistan community of common destiny, so as to play an exemplary role for building the community of common destiny between China and other neighbouring countries,” he added.

On the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Xi said the project was an important component of the Beijing-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, and relates to the two countries’ long-term development.

He added that since he paid a state visit to Pakistan in April, a batch of projects have been officially launched, signalling that the economic corridor has entered the phase of implementation.

“China firmly supports Pakistan’s efforts in safeguarding national security and will continue to provide support and help for Pakistan to improve relevant capabilities,” said Xi.

On his part, Sharif thanked China for its tremendous support and help to Pakistan, saying that his country treasured its relations with China.

Noting that the two sides made a series of important consensuses during Xi’s visit, he said Pakistan was “willing to make joint efforts with China to implement those agreements”.

Pakistan, he said, supported China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, and would vigorously participate in relevant cooperation.

Pakistan and China shared common interests in maintaining regional security, said Sharif, adding that Islamabad would work together with Beijing to safeguard regional security and push forward the Afghan peace process.

Pakistan was also willing to carry out close cooperation and coordination with China within the SCO framework, said the Pakistani prime minister.

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