Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a “comprehensive” telephone call with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday during which he affirmed the government’s “firm resolve” to fast-track the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, media reports said.
A statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that Sharif expressed his government’s resolve to fast-track the ongoing and new CPEC projects which had “immensely contributed to the socio-economic development of Pakistan”, Dawn reported.
He highlighted the need for both sides to work together and enhance cooperation between the relevant agencies of the two countries in order to fully operationalise special economic zones (SEZs) as soon as possible.
“While recalling Pakistan-China sister-city partnerships, the Prime Minister expressed his desire to learn from the experience of those Chinese officials who have remained instrumental in setting up SEZs in their provinces,” the statement said.
Sharif also expressed his commitment to work with renewed zeal and enthusiasm in tandem with China, especially on projects of strategic significance for both the countries, such as the ML-1 project.
He thanked the neighbouring country for its firm support to “Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national development and reaffirmed his government’s unwavering support to China on all issues of its core interest”.
The two leaders also discussed bilateral matters in detail, agreeing that Pakistan and China would not allow anyone to harm the long-standing partnership between the two countries, Dawn reported.
Sharif reiterated that Pakistan attached the highest importance to the safety, security and protection of all Chinese nationals working in Pakistan on economic projects and institutions, and assured Premier Li that the government is determined to take the necessary measures for their enhanced security and safety.