Pakistan and China to celebrate 2023 as year of China-Pakistan Year of Tourism and Exchange

Lahore: Pakistan and China will celebrate 2023 as the year of China-Pakistan Year of Tourism and Exchange.

Chinese Consul General in Lahore Zhao Shiren said that the two brotherly countries will cooperate further in tourism, exchange and other sectors after the recent successful 20th Communist Party of China (CPC) Congress.

Speaking at a seminar titled ‘20th CPC Congress; Party, Policy, Prospects and impacts on China-Pak Relations’ organized by Institute of International Relations and Media Research (IIRMR) here, the senior diplomat maintained that the coming year will be celebrated as the year of China-Pakistan Year of Tourism and Exchange to bring the two friendly countries even closer.

“The year 2023 will be marked as a year of China-Pakistan Year of Tourism and Exchange. In this regard, the Gandhara Art Exhibition will be held at the Palace Museum in Beijing to showcase Pakistan’s diverse culture and long history of interaction with China,” he elaborated.

Zhao Shiren stressed that with the gradual resumption of direct flights operation with more frequency, people-to-people exchanges between the two countries will surely become more active.

“As 20th CPC Congress reaffirmed the commitments of the Party and the country to world peace and common development, with dedication to promoting a human community with a shared future through the Belt and Road Initiative,” he remarked.

The senior diplomat predicted that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be more mature and multi-dimensional after induction of new concepts like health corridor, industrial corridor, digital corridor, and green corridor in the next phase.

He termed the Congress’ impacts positive on the development of China-Pakistan relations, saying recent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s successful maiden official visit to China right after the Party Congress as first head of government speaks volumes about the great importance attached to by the new Chinese leadership on China-Pakistan relations.

“During the PM’s visit, both sides issued a joint statement and signed or concluded several agreements/MoUs (Memorandums of Understanding) in wide areas. Leaders of the two countries reached an important consensus on the ML-1 (Main Line – 1) project for its early implementation. China also agreed to actively advance the Karachi Circular Railway and encourage Chinese companies to participate in solar and other renewable energy projects,” he informed.

The Chinese Consul General believed that the relations of Pakistan and China will catch pace after the successful 20th CPC National Congress, where key development projects were announced including the pilot one ‘CPEC’.

Zhao Shiren said that China terms people of Pakistan real stakeholder besides government and Chinese leadership is ready to work jointly with every segment of society to let CPEC fortunes to trickle down to grass route level.

“It is not appropriate to blame anybody for CPEC slowdown because now CPEC has bounced back with its natural form and pace and all projects will be executed on fast-track to make CPEC a full-on successful story,” he added.

He mentioned that China also announced to give Pakistan an extra 500 million yuan in emergency assistance for post-disaster reconstruction, making the total aid of 1.16 billion yuan (Pakistani 36 billion rupees), ranking first among the helping countries.

In his speech, IIRMR Chairman Muhammad Mehdi said that all countries definitely accept influence from the surrounding conditions and when it comes to China, this situation is always pleasant.

“While the recent 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has expressed the preferences of the Chinese people in front of the world. After Communist Revolution under the leadership of its great leader, Chairman Mao, poverty elimination and Chinese journey to become moderate prosperous country were another milestones achieved in the leadership of President Xi Jinping,” he added.

He underlined that Pakistan should “understand well that the importance of CPEC which also should be reflected in foreign and economic policies. Therefore, Pakistan should have a permanent definite policy regarding CPEC and whatever political changes may take place in the country in future, there should be no negative impact on this project.”

Dr Waheed Ahmad Khan, Head of Department of Political Science and International Relations PU Lahore, underscored that messages coming out of the 20th CPC Congress have significant impacts for Pakistan. Pakistani foreign policy leadership must interpret these messages in the broader geopolitical and economic perspectives.

Former Diplomat Nazir Husain, who once served as Additional Foreign Secretary, emphasized that Pakistan Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif was the first head of government to visit Beijing to felicitate Chinese President Xi Jinping, who secured a record third five-year term at the recent Congress of the ruling Communist Party.

“This is an eloquent recognition of the evergreen relationship between the two countries. The two leaders reviewed the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership. Several areas were identified and agreements were signed to advance the wide-ranging bilateral cooperation in diverse areas and consolidate the momentum of CPEC cooperation,” he contended.

Dr Qais Aslam, former Chairman Department of Economics, Government College University, Lahore, congratulated President Xi Jinping for securing third term in 20th CPC congress and underlined the importance of Pakistan-China relations that are robust and historic, especially the agreements made between the two countries under one belt and road vision of President Xi Jinping.

PU Professor Dr Amjad Abbas Magsi highlighted that China’s vision of building a human community with a shared future was gaining support from more countries and will play a vital role in promoting world peace and development.

Jawad Saleem Chairman agricultural committee Lahore Chamber Of Commerce also spoke on the occasion.