PM Shehbaz to embark on first official China visit on Nov 1 Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has arrived in Pakistan on Thursday after completing his two-day official visit to China. Sharif and his party was greeted at the Beijing Capital International Airport by senior Chinese officials and official diplomatic representatives of Pakistan. Prior to it, PM Shehbaz congratulated President Xi on his reelection as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China’s 20th Central Committee. He also expressed his gratitude for China’s crucial support for Pakistan’s relief, recovery, and reconstruction efforts following the destruction brought on by the nation’s catastrophic floods. The two presidents discussed regional and global topics of shared concern while also reviewing the status of their bilateral relations. They reiterated their dedication to the long-standing All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the two nations. In order to realise their common objective of peace, stability, progress, and prosperity, the two countries have stood resolutely side by side. Shehbaz forcefully underlined that the friendship between Pakistan and China enjoyed total support from all political factions in Pakistan and was a role model for inter-state relations, reiterating Pakistan’s special historical links with China. The premier said that Pakistan was inspired by China’s socioeconomic development and national resolve for the country’s progress and prosperity and paid homage to President Xi’s leadership for China’s success and his vision for developing bilateral ties. The two leaders discussed cooperation across a range of issues, including defence, trade and investment, agriculture, health, education, green energy, science and technology and disaster preparedness. They reaffirmed their mutual commitment to CPEC, while highlighting that CPEC’s high quality development would further strengthen bilateral ties between Pakistan and China. In this regard, the two leaders agreed that as a project of strategic importance, both sides would make joint efforts for launching ML-1 as an early harvest project, under the CPEC framework. They also acknowledged the need for a mass-transit project in Karachi and agreed to finalize all formalities for the early launch of the Karachi Circular Railway. They also appreciated the signing of a number of agreements covering broad range of bilateral cooperation during the visit. President Xi Jinping assured that China would continue to extend its support to Pakistan for sustainable economic development and to harness its potential as the geo-economic hub. He also announced an additional assistance package of RMB 500 million for Pakistan’s post-flood relief and rehabilitation efforts. The two leaders exchanged views on the rapid transformation in the international environment, which had exacerbated economic challenges for developing countries. They affirmed their shared belief in dialogue and cooperation based on equality and mutual benefit as critical for global peace and prosperity. They agreed that contemporary challenges like climate change, health pandemics and growing inequalities needed unqualified cooperation among states, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. There was complete unanimity of views between the two leaders. PM Shehbaz Sharif and President Xi Jinping also discussed key issues, pertaining to the region including the situation in IIOJK and in Afghanistan. Both presidents agreed that the extension of CPEC to Afghanistan will strengthen regional connectivity projects and underlined that a peaceful and secure Afghanistan would enhance regional security and economic growth. Additionally, the Prime Minister cordially invited President Xi to visit Pakistan as soon as possible, which the latter warmly accepted.