China has historically supported Pakistan through every thick and thin: FM Bilawal Bhutto

Islamabad: Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that China had historically supported Pakistan through every thick and thin.

Speaking at a news conference here to highlight priority areas of his foreign policy, the FM mentioned that soon after assuming office in April this year, he made his first visit to China and engaged with the Chinese leadership to further strengthen economic and political ties between the two countries.

“China has always supported Pakistan through every thick and thin. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, return of Pakistani students to Chinese universities and educational institutions, and bilateral cooperation to fight the menace of terrorism were the focus of my engagements with China,” he elaborated.

Talking about Pakistan’s relations with the United States, the Foreign Minister maintained that both countries have a history of relations. He said problems emerged whenever there appeared a lack of coordination between the two countries.

He, however, underscored that he had very positive and productive engagements with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a positive direction with regard to Pakistan-US relations has become visible.

“Now Pakistan-US relations have been de-hyphenated. In the past focus of the discussion of Pakistan-US engagements was on ‘terrorism’ and the rhetoric of ‘do more,’ but now we have included economy, trade, health, and agriculture in the realm of ties between the two countries,” he added.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also highlighted his positive engagements at the multilateral level, which resulted in whitelisting of Pakistan from Financial Action Task Force’s grey list. “Pakistan should be part of the FATF system. Pakistan got the status of GSP-Plus for preferential treatment of its goods to the European Union,” he stated.

FM Bilawal underlined that it helped enhance Pakistan’s exports to EU by 80 percent, whereas the European countries exports to Pakistan increased by 60 percent. “We want this status should be further extended as people from both the sides have benefited a lot due to this facility,” the FM remarked.

Commenting on situation in Afghanistan, the Foreign Minister urged the international community to engage with the interim Afghan authorities to prevent any humanitarian crisis there and to help resolve economic problems of the Afghan people.

Regarding recognition of the interim Afghan Government, he said Pakistan does not want to take a solo flight in this regard. He said Pakistan wanted that this issue be addressed with the international consensus.

He stressed that Pakistan wanted to intensify its engagements with the world to safeguard its national interests for the betterment of the people.

“We want peaceful relations with all the countries, including the neighbouring states. The government is pitching Pakistan’s foreign policy in a positive way,” he contended.