BOAO, CHINA: The revival of Silk Road can help in bringing economic growth and prosperity in the region, said Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif on Thursday.
He was speaking at a session, ‘Reviving the Silk Road -A dialogue with Asian Leaders’ at the Boao Forum for Asia 2014.
The Prime Minister appreciated China’s President Xi Jinping for proposing a visionary concept of the New Silk Road last year and renewing everyone’s interest in the subject.
The Silk Road in today’s world of passports, visas and intricate tariff manuals, requires ingenuity both in policy formulation and policy application, said Nawaz.
The premier mentioned that the policy should be based upon four elements including coordination to ensure mutually beneficial endeavors in peaceful and secure settings; introduction of cohesive laws and regulations regarding movement of humans and merchandize, taxation policies and tariff, non-tariff barriers; regional infrastructure for better connectivity by building better transport networks and convertibility of currencies and uniformity in financial and banking sectors.
Nawaz highlighted that Pakistan’s geographical location supplements the potential of the Silk Road and enhances the scope of its revival.
“Our geography links China and the New Silk Road to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. This is the linear dimension of our relevance with the Silk Road,” he said.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan is at the junction of China, the Eurasian land-bridge and the Middle East which enables it to be route to a three-pronged economic corridor between China, Central Asia and the Middle East.
He further mentioned that Pakistan’s long coastline also makes the ports of Karachi and Gwadar as a strategic transit on the maritime Silk Road.
The premier claimed that Pakistan-China Economic Corridor is the southern extension of the New Silk Road and in the course of the last ten months, the two countries had achieved a broad consensus on planning various infrastructure and energy projects under the project of the Economic Corridor.
He mentioned that the PML-N government in the first year in office had already sought to improve governance and undertaken sound economic policies. Besides, the liabilities in the electricity sector were cleared last year and the acute energy shortfall was reduced.
Prime Minister Sharif stressed that to achieve an efficient Silk Road, there was a need to invest in peace and mutually benefiting diplomacy.
“We must strengthen bilateral and multilateral mechanisms, tosettle outstanding disputes, through peaceful means,” he said. He said Pakistan believed that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), with its diverse membership and strong institutional framework, was well positioned to promote peace and security, in the wider neighbourhood.
He said the SCO was playing an important role in settling disputes and managing conflicts which would help revive the Silk Road.
Nawaz- Li meeting
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday urged Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan, especially in energy and infrastructure.
He met with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA).
He was accompanied by Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi.
During the meeting issues of bilateral, regional and global issues came under the discussion.
Congratulating PM Li Keqiang and Chinese leadership on the successful holding of the 14th BFA, Nawaz highlighted that the Boao event was a demonstration of China’s willingness to assist and guide the developing countries in their pursuit of harmonious growth and shared prosperity.
Describing Pakistan’s friendship with China as an exemplary inter-state relationship, the Prime Minister stressed that Pakistan attaches the highest priority to its relations with China.
The two leaders agreed that expanding economic and trade cooperation, promoting economic integration, fostering economic development of the two countries would not only benefit China and Pakistan but also transform the whole region.
Chinese Premier thanked Pakistan for its consistent and strong support on issues relating to China’s core interest sincluding the fight against terrorism, extremism and separatism.
He also appreciated his counterpart’s participation at the Bao Forum and reiterated that China attaches high priority to its relationship with Pakistan.
China would continue to strongly support Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, said Chinese PM. He acknowledged the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in fighting terrorism and extremism and assured China’s full support against these menaces.
Terming the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a common vision of the leadership of the two countries, Li Keqiang expressed satisfaction on the progress made in the Corridor Project.
He hoped that the Corridor would soon start to take practical shape and yield tangible benefits, within the time-frame agreed upon between the two countries.