Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chinese premier Li Keqiang on Saturday signed 15 agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for cooperation in different fields.
Prime Minsiter Imran Khan is currently on his first official visit to China and is leading a delegation of senior officials including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Finance Minister Asad Umer. The agreements were signed in the Great Hall of the People in the Chinese capital of Beijing. Agriculture, poverty alleviation, industrial cooperation and technical training were among the agreements reached between the two historic allies. China will also help Pakistan establish special economic zones, according to reports. Other areas where the two countries agreed to cooperate on include forestry and earth sciences.
Higher Education of Pakistan (HEC) and Science Academy of China agreed to cooperate on matters of mutual interest while Chinese Academy of Science and Pakistan Metrological Department also agreed for the same.
On Friday, PM Imran Khan held a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Great Hall of the People in Beijing and the two leaders reviewed the Pakistan-China bilateral relations and held in-depth discussions on regional and global issues of mutual interest. Pakistan is expected to receive $6 billion economic packages from China during PM Imran’s visit. A loan of $1.5 billion is also expected to be offered, along with an additional package of $3 billion for CPEC.
Pakistan’s foreign reserves have plunged 42 per cent since the start of the year and now stand at about $7.8 billion, or less than two months of import cover.
Last month, Pakistan received a $6 billion rescue package from Saudi Arabia, but officials say it is not enough and the country still plans to seek a bailout from the IMF to avert a balance of payments crisis. It would be Pakistan’s 13th rescue package from the multilateral lender since the late 1980s.
Pakistan has sought to amend CPEC to put greater emphasis on projects that focus on social development, rather than purely on infrastructure. Xi told Prime Minister Imran Khan that he highly valued the two country’s relations, reaffirming that they were “all-weather” friends.
“I attach great importance to China-Pakistan relations and am willing to work together with the prime minister to strengthen the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership and build a new era of China-Pakistan destiny,” Xi said. Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, told Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a separate meeting that China would not let Pakistan down.
“The Chinese side will continue to provide support and help to the best of its ability for Pakistan’s economic and social development and national construction,” China’s Foreign Ministry cited Wang as saying, without giving details.