As time flies, we are in the year of 2020. At this wonderful moment of welcoming the third decade of the 21st century, I, on behalf of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Pakistan, would like to extend my sincere New Year greetings to all Pakistani friends.
The year 2019 is of great historic significance for China’s development. Over 1.4 billion Chinese people celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. Over the past 70 years, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, we adhere to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and have scored remarkable achievements.
China’s GDP has broken through the threshold of 90 trillion RMB (13.6 trillion USD) in 2018, a great leap forward from over 60 billion RMB (12.3 billion USD) in 1949. The GDP per capita has increased from 119 yuan (23 dollars) to 64644 yuan (9732 dollars). China now stands firmly as the world’s second largest economy. Over 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty.
In 2019, China fulfilled its international responsibility and injected positive energy into the international community. With major changes undergoing in the world, China adheres to the principles of peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, holds high the banner of multilateralism, stabilizes relations with major powers, vigorously promotes mutually beneficial cooperation with neighboring and developing countries, continues to lead the global governance process, and actively promotes regional peace and stability.
China successfully hosted the second ‘Belt and Road’ Forum for International Cooperation, and advocated for open, green, and inclusive development with a view to achieve a high-quality and high-standard cooperation under the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ with people’s well-being at focus.
On the complicated international stage, China has become the mainstay for maintaining world peace and stability, and the main force for promoting global development and prosperity. 2019 is also a year of great development of China-Pakistan relations.
This year, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited China twice and met with President Xi Jinping three times. The two sides exchanged experience and ideas on building a closer China-Pakistan community of shared future in the new era as well as jointly constructing the Belt and Road with high quality, and made a series of significant achievements.
Over the year of 2019, we have strengthened our mutual trust, mutual understanding and supported each other on issues related to our core interests. China firmly supports Pakistan in safeguarding its national sovereignty, territorial integrity and security, and highly commends Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism and extremism. China and Pakistan jointly safeguard the important role of the UN Charter in international relations, oppose unilateralism and bullying, uphold international justice, and promote regional peace and stability.
Over the year, we have deepened bilateral cooperation in various fields and connected the Belt and Road Initiative with the ‘Naya Pakistan’ vision. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has progressed smoothly. We focused on social-economic, industrial and agricultural cooperation.
We have finalized 27 priority projects of social development under the CPEC, of which 17 will be launched in the first half of 2020. The second phase of the Free Trade Agreement between China and Pakistan comes into effect on January 1, 2020, and Pakistan’s exporting products such as leather, cotton and garment products will enjoy zero-tariff entry into China’s market.
A large number of Chinese enterprises have actively invested and established branches in Pakistan, covering textile processing, tire manufacturing, motorcycle production, agricultural plantation, steel and etc. It will help Pakistan to enhance its manufacturing and exporting capacity, and bring more job opportunities.
Over the year, we have promoted people-to-people exchanges and continued to strengthen the foundation of friendship between the two countries. 2019 is the year of Sino-Pak local cooperation and we have established 16 local-to-local partnerships. We have imported Pakistani films like ‘Parwaaz Hai Junoon’, provided training for Pakistani table tennis team in China, invited Pakistani cricket team to visit China. At present, 5 universities in Pakistan have established Confucius Institutes, and 58 universities have joined the CPEC University Consortium. Nearly 30,000 Pakistani students are studying in China with more than 7,000 scholarships.
2020 will be a landmark year of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. China will complete its thirteenth Five-Year Plan, eliminate absolute poverty completely, build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, 2020 will also be a historical year to usher in a new chapter of win-win cooperation between China and Pakistan. As an iron brother, Pakistan will always be the prior partner in China’s external relations.
China and Pakistan will enhance cooperation to achieve common development. We continue to promote the high-quality development of the CPEC. We will deepen cooperation in trade and investment, support the development of manufacturing industry in Pakistan, increase employment and expand exports, and help Pakistan to accelerate integration into the international industrial chain. China would like to increase technology transfer to Pakistan and expand cooperation with Pakistan in areas such as environmental protection, climate change and water resources management.
China and Pakistan will encourage more people-to-people contacts. In 2020, China will provide 1,800 training opportunities to Pakistan, help build and upgrade more than 50 schools, 50 vocational training centers and 30 hospitals in all areas of Pakistan. We will provide 20,000 scholarships for Pakistan students in the next 3 years. Both sides will hold the 2nd Forum on local-to-local Cooperation between China and Pakistan and carry out more cultural activities. China welcomes more Pakistani friends to visit China, learn more about Chinese culture and promote mutual understanding between two civilizations.
China and Pakistan will consolidate international cooperation to work for regional peace. The two countries will strengthen coordination and cooperation on major international and regional issues, jointly safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, support multilateralism and win-win cooperation, and highlight the representation and voice of developing countries on international affairs.
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan once observed that, only through united efforts can we turn our ideals into reality. Today, China and Pakistan both shoulder the historic mission of achieving national rejuvenation and realizing the great dream of building a prosperous country and a better society. Let’s work together to seize the opportunities, overcome the challenges, pursue common development and build upon the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership forwards a China-Pakistan community of shared future.
May Pakistan enjoy prosperity!