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Hand in Hand For a Better Future

(Ambassador Yao Jing, 2020/05/21)

Today is the 69th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, I would like to express my warm congratulations to this moment and sincere appreciation to friends from the Pakistani Government and all walks of life for your commitment and support to our bilateral relations.

Since 21 May 1951, China-Pakistan relations have grown from strength to strength, withstanding the test of changes in international arena and domestic situation of the two countries. The two countries have trusted each other, supported each other on issues concerning each other's core interests. We have been devoted friends through both good and hard times.

We will never forget that Pakistan was the first Islamic country to enter into diplomatic relations with China. At the critical times when New China endeavored to break the blockade, resume its lawful seat at the United Nations and explore ways to carry out our reform and opening-up, Pakistan always came forward with selflessness and valuable assistance. In 2008, when the devastating earthquake struck China, Pakistan immediately sent all its transport aircraft to ship its entire reserve of tents to China. In return, China strongly supported Pakistan whenever there is a need. When Pakistan was hit by a severe flood in 2010, China dispatched the largest ever medical team for relief work. Besides that, there are also well-known stories of our two countries conquering the natural challenge to build KKH highway, jointly manufacturing JF-17, and helping each other for evacuation mission from Yemen. From time to time, these touching stories helped to shape our relations and consolidated our deep rooted friendship.

In recent years, China-Pakistan relations have maintained a steady and rapid development at a high level. President Xi Jinping paid a historic visit to Pakistan in 2015, and China-Pakistan relations have been upgraded to an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership. Since taking office, Prime Minister Imran Khan has visited China 3 times and met with President Xi Jinping 4 times. Political mutual trust has been continuously consolidated.

With the strong support of the two governments, the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) has achieved a lot of "early harvest". 16 projects have been completed and 16 projects are under construction. The CPEC has become a model for high-quality development of "Belt and Road" Initiative. China has become Pakistan's largest trading partner and important source of investment for many years, with bilateral trade value amounted US $ 20 billion. There are nearly 200,000 people exchanges between the two countries each year. 14 pairs of friendly provinces and cities have been established, and the friendship between China and Pakistan has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. "Higher than the mountain, deeper than the ocean, harder than steel, sweeter than honey" has become a vivid portrayal of China-Pakistan friendship.

At the beginning of 2020, a ruthless COVID-19 epidemic swept the world, threatening human health and world public health security seriously. In this special war without smoke, China and Pakistan have been standing together and supporting each other. Our cooperation and mutual support have vividly illustrated the connotation of the China-Pakistan community of shared destiny, as President Xi Jinping said our two countires are "true friends and brothers sharing weal and woe".

When COVID-19 attacked China, Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan sent letters to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang respectively, expressing their condolences. President Alvi's visit to China in March showed the firm support of Pakistan for China's fight against the epidemic. The National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan passed resolutions expressing solidarity with China and firmly opposed the stigmatization of China. The Government of Pakistan, the military and the people from all walks of life donated face masks and other epidemic prevention materials to China. On the phone call with President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Imran khan said the whole world thanks and appreciates China's efforts and achievements in dealing with the epidemic, and no country can do better than China. Trust and encouragement from the old friend boost our confidence in overcoming the epidemic.

The grace of dripping water should be reciprocated by a gushing spring dripping. The Chinese people care about the situation in Pakistan and is ready to provide full support and assistance. China has sent medical teams to Pakistan, shared its experience in epidemic prevention through video conferences and other ways. China has donated many medical goods to Pakistan, including more than 300,000 test kits, 7 million masks, more than 400,000 sets of medical protective clothing and over 500 ventilators, and assisted in the construction of quarantine hospitals. The assistance came not only from the Chinese government, military, but also from the Chinese enterprises working in Pakistan, overseas Chinese and students in Pakistan, and ordinary Chinese citizens.

So far, the CPEC projects are proud of zero infections, no layoff of local staff, no withdrawal of Chinese engineers. The projects have been in operation to give support to Pakistani economy and people's livelihood. The energy projects guaranteed 1/3 of the electrical supply in Pakistan during the pandemic and provided reliable energy for the continuous operation of hospitals. The Gwadar port and infrastructure projects ensured the normal supply of living materials for the people of Pakistan. China will continue to promote the construction of the CPEC together with Pakistan on the premise of preventing and controlling the epidemic and ensuring the safety of personnel, so as to provide motivation for Pakistan to overcome the epidemic and develop the economy.

Few days ago, 52 Pakistani students from the University of Science and Technology Beijing wrote a letter to President Xi Jinping, illustrating their life in China during the outbreak of Covid-19. They appreciated the care and help extended to them by the university authority and expressed their wish that upon graduation they would like to engage themselves in the Belt and Road Initiative and contribute to enhancing China-Pakistan friendship. President Xi Jinping wrote back to them, encouraging the students to learn more knowledge,communicate more with their Chinese peers and join hands with youth from all countries to contribute to promoting people-to-people connectivity and building a community with a shared future for mankind. I am glad to see the torch of China-Pakistan friendship has been passed on to the young generation.

I firmly believe that in forging a closer China-Pakistan community of shared future in the new era, our bilateral friendship will become stronger and our cooperation will become extraordinary. The Chinese people and Pakistani people will surely conquer various difficulties and challenges and jointly paint a more beautiful future.

Chin-Pak Dosti Zindabad!

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