Economic, social benefits of CPEC continue to increase: Chinese envoy

ISLAMABAD: Outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Sun Weidong Monday said the economic and social benefits of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would continue to increase, which would be beneficial for the people of the two countries and entire region.

“I am very fortunate to witness the birth and growth of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Under the joint guidance and support of our two leaders, the CPEC has progressed smoothly in a short span of four years and entered the stage of early-harvest. It is our pride to see, CPEC has become the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative” the envoy said while addressing a farewell reception here.

Among others, the reception was attended by Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of Staff GHQ Lt Gen Bilal Akbar, Chief of Jamat-i-Islami Sirajul Haq, National Security Adviser to Prime Minister Nasir Khan Janjua, Economic Adviser Senator Sartaj Aziz, Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind (PTI), Senator Nuzhat Amir (PML-N), Senator Talha Mahmood (JUI) Senator Sherry Rehman (PPP) Ghous Bakhsh Mehr (PML-Functional) and outgoing chairman NAB Chaudhry Qamar Zaman.

The Chinese envoy appreciated the remarkable development Pakistan has achieved during the last four years, saying “Pakistan’s economic growth has accelerated. The problem of power shortage has been eased. At the same time, Pakistan has taken series of measures to effectively curb the spread of terrorism. The security situation in the country has been significantly improved. Confidence in the public is picking up towards the future.”

Sun Weidong said he believed in making brotherly friendship with friends from all walks of life in Pakistan.

“We will not forget the holy greetings from the grave keepers of the Chinese martyrs’ cemetery in Gilgit, New Year greeting cards made by Pakistanis, the dignified salute of the Pakistani military and police besides the familiar greetings of ‘Nihao’ everywhere we went in Pakistan… These will be the most cherished memories for me and my wife Diana,” he added.

The outgoing envoy said, “This was my first time to lead a group of foreign friends to take oaths. Whenever I recalled their resounding voices and staunch eyes, my heart was filled with warmth and friendship.”

He recalled his days he and his wife had in Pakistan and said, “Looking back over the past 1,500 plus days and nights, we have done a lot of meaningful things, made plenty of friends, and are generously rewarded. From the holy Quaid-e-Azam mausoleum of Karachi to the beautiful valley of Swat, from the spectacular castle of Lahore to the blue sea of Gwadar.”

He also appreciated the beautiful natural scenery of Pakistan, diligence and courage of the people on the land and the development of the country.

Sun Weidong said, “I think I’m very lucky. I am very fortunate to be the Ambassador of China to Pakistan in my first tenure as the Ambassador. China and Pakistan are “Iron Brothers”.

He said the relationship between the two countries was a model of state-to-state relations and it was his glorious mission to contribute to the ever-growing friendship .

He said he had the honour to work for the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s historic state visit to Pakistan in 2015. “The leaders of the two countries agreed to uplift our bilateral relationship to an all-weather strategic partnership. It opened a new chapter of the great development of bilateral relations. The two countries have expanded our exchanges and cooperation in various fields such as politics, trade and business, culture, science and technology, education, security, defense and on international and regional affairs,” he remarked.

He said Pakistan and China could overcome the difficulties and turn ideas into reality and quoted an old Chinese saying “When the two brothers are of one mind, they can cut through any metal.”

The ambassador said in the context of profound changes in the world, China and Pakistan must seize the historical opportunity presented to both, adding “We should fully materialize the outcomes of President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan.”

He underlined the need for expansion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and promotion of pragmatic cooperation in various fields, enhancing all-round exchanges so that China-Pakistan friendship could get further roots. “I am convinced that with the support of all the friends, we will surely upgrade China-Pakistan friendship to a new level. The goal of building China-Pakistan Community of Shared Destiny will come true.”

This month, he said, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be held in Beijing.

Under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping, the Chinese people would make tireless efforts to realize the “Two Centenary Goals” and the Chinese Dream of great rejuvenation of the nation. China’s development presents great opportunities and driving forces to the development of the world. We welcome Pakistan and other countries to take ride of China’s development.”

Sun Weidong said he and his wife would always remember the days they spent in Pakistan, and miss every friend. “We extend our best wishes for Pakistan’s development and prosperity and support for stronger China-Pakistan friendship,” he added.