Foreign secretary in China to discuss bilateral issues

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Dr Asad Majeed Khan arrived in China on Thursday and is expected to hold discussions with his Chinese counterpart on strengthening the bilateral strategic partnership between the two countries.

According to media details, the foreign secretary will also hold meetings with Chinese officials to discuss the financial woes of Pakistan among other matters of mutual concern, according to the sources.

The sources said that the secretary is expected to meet with the Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Friday to discuss ways to further strengthen the bilateral relationship.

In addition, political talks between Pakistan and China would also take place, which would be jointly chaired by Dr Khan and Vice Foreign Minister of China Sun Weidong.

As Pakistan’s economic woes deepened, the country needs urgent economic assistance to avert the financial collapse. As reported earlier, a Chinese bank had assured Pakistan of providing another refinanced $500 million loan within the next few days.

The total Chinese loan would go up to $1.7 billion out of the total committed amount of $2 billion.

It was one of the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Pakistan must secure the refinancing of commercial loans as well as a rollover on deposits from China during the programme period, which is scheduled to expire in June 2023.

On Thursday, while speaking with the state broadcaster China Global Television Network (CGTN), the foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had also said that he will be attending the upcoming Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit — scheduled to take place in autumn.

Bilawal had stated that “of course, we will [participate in the BRI summit]. Pakistan has the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which has made immense progress over time, and I look forward to being able to participate in such a summit and share with the world what we’ve achieved so far, what we plan to achieve together going forward.”

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