Pakistani premier to discuss regional issues in China visit

ISLAMABAD, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will leave on Tuesday for Beijing on a two-day official visit to China at the invitation of premier Li Keqiang to discuss issues of mutual concern with Chinese leadership.

The premier is scheduled to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang during his third visit to China this year, according to the Pakistani foreign ministry.

Several agreements are expected to be signed at a ceremony to be witnessed by the two prime ministers, where Khan will be accompanied by a high-level delegation including a number of ministers and senior officials.

Topics will be discussed include expansion of projects under the mega China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework, besides cooperation in agriculture, industrial and socio-economic sectors. The Pakistani prime minister is also likely to address a China-Pakistan Business Forum in Beijing to further promote economic and trade exchanges between the two countries, while discussions will also touch on a China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement signed between both sides to further enhance bilateral business and trade.

The visit comes at a time when tensions have spiked between Pakistan and India after New Delhi ended the special status for Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir in August.

After reducing diplomatic ties with New Delhi over the issue, Islamabad has asked United Nations Security Council to fulfill its responsibilities for the maintenance of international and regional peace and security in accordance with UN resolutions.

India insists that Kashmir is its internal matter and there is no room for Pakistan or any other foreign country to interfere in it, arguing that the changes to Kashmir’s status would bring economic development and infrastructure improvements to the region. An ally of Pakistan, Beijing has backed Islamabad over the Kashmir dispute with its Foreign Minister Wang Yi saying, “No actions that would unilaterally change the status quo should be taken.” The visit of the Pakistani prime minister to China has also gained importance as it falls just before the visit of President Xi to India and Nepal starting on October 11.

Source: Kuwait News Agency