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Sino-Pak ties: 65 years down the line

By Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif  (People's Daily Online)    16:47, May 23, 2016

May 21, 2016 marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China. What started as a formal establishment of diplomatic relations in 1951 has today become an unbreakable bond of infallible trust; time-tested friendship, and above all a shared world-view. Over the last several decades, both countries have always found each other standing shoulder to shoulder.

Our two nations have become inseparable in shared values, interests, and a global outlook. We speak entirely different languages, have our unique cultures and until recently had limited direct people-to-people interaction. Yet our people have developed an immense reservoir of love and friendship for each other. What a bond, what an amazing relationship!

We have walked together for 65 years now. We see 2016 as another promising year for the mutual prosperity and development of our two brotherly countries. In today’s world, economic aspect of inter-state relations assumes a critical priority. It is indeed a strategic imperative that guarantees longevity and sustainability of relations between countries. China-Pakistan also need to keep economic relationship at the core of their relationship and aim for forging even greater trade and economic partnership.

The 21st century is the ‘Asian Century’. China is the engine of not just Asia’s growth but of the world. China has successfully lifted its 700 million people from poverty through prudent policies and reforms. The Chinese experiment of rendering its huge population into demographic dividend is an example of how skilled human resource of a country can be leveraged asa factor of development.

With the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence introduced by Premier Zhou Enlai, China has followed a foreign policy that has earned the respect of the world. It has emerged peacefully on the world scene by employing soft power rather than deployment of hard power. Pakistan looks at the peaceful rise of China as a source of strength and stability for the Southwest, Central Asian and Asian regions.

President Xi Jinping’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) vision is so central to establishment of peaceful and prosperous regional integration. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a flagship project of OBOR will be a game changer for both our countries and the wider region. 

The ‘One Road, One Belt’ initiative has all the attributes of binding many geographical regions into a well-knit robust economic block. It can also serve as a basis for durable peace in the region and beyond, by replacing animosity with cooperation among the member countries.

History bears witness to the fact that economic partnership have turned archrivals and foes into friends and partners. President Xi’s visionary concept is one of development, progress and prosperity through win-win partnership. It is the harbinger of a new era of peace and stability, offering the promise of transforming the regional economic landscape.

China and Pakistan are resolved like never before to work together to ‘achieve a community of shared destiny as envisaged by President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Nawaz Sahrif.

We are two countries with a shared history of intellectual and economic growth. Two people bound by bonds of friendship and trust. We have been great together for the past 65 years, and indeed the next 65will be even better. 

The author is the Chief Minister of Punjab Province of Pakistan.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Wu Chengliang,Bianji)

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