China to Pakistan: Do all in your power to shield Chinese laborers from terrorist acts.

China to Pakistan: Do all in your power to shield Chinese laborers from terrorist acts.

China on Wednesday asked Pakistan to do its “utmost” to protect thousands of Chinese workers involved in the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects as the two countries held strategic dialogue here amid serious economic crisis in Pakistan and Beijing’s concerns over increasing attacks on its citizens in the country.

Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, who is in China on a four-day visit, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi co-chaired the fifth round of the Foreign Minister-Level China-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.

Wang told Dar that China hopes that Pakistan will continue to do its utmost to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel, projects and institutions in the country and eliminate the worries of Chinese enterprises and personnel, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The recurring attacks on Chinese personnel working in the $60 billion CPEC projects by militant groups in Pakistan has become a major concern for China.

In March, five Chinese and one Pakistani nationals were killed in a terrorist attack on their vehicle of the Dasu Hydropower Project undertaken by a Chinese company in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Dar said Pakistan is fully committed to bringing the planners, financiers and perpetrators of this heinous attack to justice. He added that Pakistan will do its utmost to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and institutions in the country.

Pakistan says it has constituted a 12,000-strong para military force to protect the Chinese workers.

Wang has assured support to cash-strapped Pakistan, saying China will not waver in its determination to deepen cooperation with the all-weather ally.

The two sides pledged to enhance pragmatic cooperation in various fields, the Xinhua report said, without providing details.

Wang noted that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners.

Over the years, Pakistan has firmly adhered to the one-China principle and offered China valuable support without reservation on issues concerning China’s core interests, he said.

China also firmly supports Pakistan in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and in playing a bigger role in international and regional affairs, he said.

China is willing to pool efforts to promote the construction of an upgraded version of the CPEC, he said.

India has protested to China over the construction of the CPEC as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Dar said Pakistan-China friendship is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy and added that Islamabad abides by the one-China principle, firmly supports China without hesitation on all issues concerning China’s core interests, and looks forward to further deepening bilateral practical cooperation in various fields.

Addressing a joint news conference with Wang in Beijing at the conclusion of talks, Dar said the two sides agreed to accelerate the implementation of ML-1 railway line project, the Gwadar Port Development and the realignment of Phase-2 of the Karakoram Highway. He said it was also agreed to strengthen cooperation in agriculture, mining, minerals, energy, IT, and industrial sectors.

Talking about Afghanistan, he said both Pakistan and China are unanimous that a peaceful, stable, united, safe and secure Afghanistan is fundamental for the development, connectivity and prosperity of the region.

“We are concerned about the continued presence of terrorist entities operating in Afghanistan and call upon the Afghan-interim government to take credible and verifiable actions against such elements, using Afghan soil to threaten peace and stability of the neighbouring countries,” he said.

Earlier reports said in the Strategic Dialogue the two sides will comprehensively review bilateral relations including economic and trade cooperation; high-level exchanges and visits; upgradation of the CPEC future connectivity initiatives and the geopolitical situation.

Dar also held talks with Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC), and discussed accelerating the CPEC projects.

They discussed plans for the realignment of Karakorum Highway connecting both the countries besides accelerating the progress of CPEC projects hit by tardy progress, upgradation of the Karachi-Peshawar railway project and improvement of the Gwadar Port managed by a Chinese firm.

Our Correspondent

Our Correspondent

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