Nawaz meets Putin as Xi also joins in

BEIJING May 18: A rare meeting was held between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping here in the suburb of the capital of China Monday late afternoon upon conclusion of second roundtable conference.

This would pave the way for facilitating a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi next month at Astana where Shanghai Cooperation Orgnaisation (SCO) will hold its summit. Pakistan and India both will become member of the organization in the summit.

Highly placed diplomatic sources on anonymity condition confided to The News here that the brief informal meeting that took place at the picturesque lake where the leaders attending the ‘One Belt One Road’ concluding session of the international forum in the course of retreat meeting offered to play role for elimination of serious tension between Pakistan and India.

The Russian and Chinese President will be present in Kazakhstan capital Astana where Nawaz and Modi will also come to assume the berth in the SCO and it would be historic occasion. The sources indicated that it would be first joint attempt by Chinese and Russian leadership to subside the prevailing tension between Islamabad and New Delhi as all four leaders have confirmed their participation in the Astana summit that will take place early second week of next month.

The sources said that Pakistan hasn’t asked for a meeting of Prime Minister Nawaz with his Indian counterpart but if the good offices of the common friends work, Pakistan could consider for such a huddle.

Pakistan immediate quest is for stalling of occupied forces coercion and repression against the innocent people in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). “Pakistan believes that any interaction could be useful with India if the later assures cessation of hostilities against the innocent people of Kashmir who are peacefully asking for their right of birthrights,” the sources added.

The sources revealed that Russian President Putin has decided to attend Astana summit instead of consigning his Prime Minister for the purpose.

“The meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz and President Putin was pleasant but brief where the two had discussion without any aide. The host Chinese President Xi also joined at the end,” sources said.

Meanwhile, terming China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road (OBOR) initiative, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said the two countries are standing together for the prosperity and wellbeing of their people.

The premier has called for quickly putting in place an institutional mechanism for continuous periodical review and appraisal of the formulation and implementation of the OBOR polices and plans. He was talking to Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Zhejiang Provincial Committee Che Jun here Tuesday during his second leg of the significant visit of China. The two leaders discussed matters of mutual interest and bilateral relations.

In his remarks in the wake of joint communiqué of the OBOR summit forum earlier, the prime minister stressed accelerating the implementation of projects in Gwadar and establishment of special economic and industrial zones (SEIZ). In the course of his discussions with Che Jun, the prime minster said friendship between Pakistan and China had stood test of times and was further strengthening for the benefit of their people and the entire region. The two leaders discussed matters of mutual interest and bilateral relations of the two states.

Premier Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan and China are iron brothers and would continue to extend cooperation at all international forums. The secretary of the CPC Committee of Zhejiang welcomed the prime minister and said Pakistan and China had their relations based on history and culture and said both the nations had deep-rooted connections which had transformed in people-to-people relationship. He apprised the distinguished guest about the economic stability of Zhejiang province, which he said was an economic hub and historically was part of the Silk Route. Che Jun said that the business community in Pakistan and the Chinese province of Zhejiang had strong links and stressed that trade cooperation must be enhanced. He expressed confidence that the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would strengthen trade ties between the two countries.

Meanwhile, speaking here at the signing ceremony of memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding setting up an e-platform in Pakistan by one of the biggest e-commerce portal of the world and largest of China Alibaba, the prime minister said that he was the firm believer of political empowerment of people through economic development and would encourage e-commerce in the country as a tool to help small businesses to go global. He said that the initiative would help create jobs and generate livelihood in the country.

Nawaz termed e-commerce a catalyst for bringing improvement in small and medium enterprises (SME) sector, which he said could help promote the disadvantaged segments of the society. He said digital transactions were a solution for small entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and reach global markets. He expressed pleasure on meeting the founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Jack Ma following their last meeting at Davos this January and said he was impressed by the contribution of the e-commerce giant for the economic uplift of Chinese people. The prime minister said Alibaba Group’s approach of helping out small business enterprisers had a humanistic dimension which was also the pivot of Pakistan government’s policies since 2013. Nawaz appreciated Jack Ma for his intention to open an e-platform of Alibaba in Pakistan and said he had earlier directed his office to work out the formalities that resulted in signing of MoU within four months. He expressed hope that Alibaba Group would launch the project in Pakistan at the earliest.

Jack Ma said e-commerce had enormous potential to unlock growth in emerging markets. The Alibaba founder was of the view that close collaboration between Pakistan and China in commerce could turn the “irons brothers into golden brothers”. He said the future of e-commerce looked promising for small businesses and mentioned that nowadays, more and more such entities were incorporating e-commerce platforms as part of their business systems.

Nawaz Sharif earlier in an interview to “China Youth Daily” said Pakistan was a proud partner of China in the construction of CPEC project. He pointed out that after two years’ cooperation between the two countries; this project was turning out to be the important model of transnational cooperation for improvement of living conditions of countries along the OBOR.

The prime minister said Pakistan had started reaping the early benefits of the CPEC under the initiative of OBOR for interconnected development. He said CPEC had not only addressed some of the critical needs of Pakistan’s economy, but also started creating supply and logistic chains as well as manufacturing networks, which was having a transformational impact on the lives of people. He said connectivity was not just about connected countries and businesses, but mainly about connected peoples and nations.

He said the presence of such a large number of heads of state and government and distinguished world leaders at the OBOR Forum was testimony to the China’s leadership and acknowledgment of the growing stature of China on the international map. “As an old friend, it was a matter of immense pleasure for the government and the people of Pakistan to witness the success of this event as well as the transformational potential of OBOR for the peace, progress and prosperity of the people of the world,” he added. He called for quickly putting in place an institutional mechanism for the continuous periodical review and appraisal of the formulation and implementation of OBOR polices and plans. He congratulated President Xi on successful holding of the OBOR Forum and said that the participation of a large number of world leaders in Chinese capital was a testimony of his leadership and China’s growing stature in the international community.

Nawaz who now has arrived in Hong Kong on the final leg of his China’ historic visit before returning home will address OBOR-Pakistan Investment Forum which will be participated by leading business companies of Hong Kong and Mainland China. The focus of the forum will highlight business opportunities, emerging from the CPEC under the OBOR initiative.

The prime minister will also meet chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR today (Wednesday) to discuss business subjects of mutual interest including OBOR. The prime minister will hold meetings with executives of the leading business companies of Hong Kong and Mainland China. The prime minister will also meet Carrie Lam, Chief Executive-elect Hong Kong, before embarking for return sojourn.

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