Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiative, Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary has said that Pakistan, through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) energy projects, has been able to overcome its energy shortage, and the people will never forget China’s assistance in this regard. He also expressed appreciation for China’s positive and key role in helping to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. “This will give great impetus for regional peace and trade,” he said. Ahsan Iqbal is currently in Beijing after attending the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2023 which ended on March 31, Global Times reported on Tuesday. During his time in Beijing, the minister had in-depth conversations with representatives of Chinese enterprises and think tanks. He told representatives of Chinese companies that he appreciated the contribution of Chinese firms in the success of the CPEC. Pakistan is also eyeing solar energy investment, he said, and the government has announced a special initiative for it. He stressed that the CPEC plays an important role in facilitating modernization of infrastructure in Pakistan and the projects contribute to the country’s socio-economic development. In the meetings with enterprise representatives, the minister assured them that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is personally supervising the progress of CPEC projects and the new government is committed to maintaining the same speed of development seen with the CPEC from 2013-18. Ahsan Iqbal also highlighted the special friendship and iron brotherhood between China and Pakistan, which he said is time-tested and timeless. He said he hoped to enhance people-to-people contacts to further explore the rich history and cultural heritage in both countries, as well as their natural beauty. During his stay in Beijing, he also met with representatives of leading Chinese think tanks on Sunday. He told them that the CPEC early-harvest projects have transformed Pakistan’s economic landscape, laying solid foundations for sustainable economic growth. The minister emphasized that both China and Pakistan should “continue to expedite efforts to achieve Gwadar’s potential as a hub of regional commerce and industry, while also prioritizing work on ML-1 and other key energy projects.” China has become Pakistan’s largest investment and trade partner in the last 10 years due to the CPEC, and both sides are keen to maintain the momentum of overall economic and trade ties in future as well, he said. “The next phase of the CPEC envisages industrial cooperation and business to business links,” he said. He also underscored the need to learn from Chinese experience of export sector development, as a permanent solution to Pakistan’s economic crisis lies in fast and speedy growth of exports.