China ready to boost Pakistan ties but urges security guarantee: President Xi Jinping

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China is willing to strengthen co-operation and promote solidarity with Pakistan but has urged it to guarantee the safety of Chinese organizations and personnel working there, China’s foreign ministry said, quoting President Xi Jinping.

China is a major ally and investor in Pakistan but both separatist and Islamist militants have attacked Chinese projects over recent years, killing Chinese personnel.

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Xi on Thursday evening met Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister, Anwar ul Haq Kakar, who is in Beijing this week for a forum on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Xi said both countries should pursue an “upgraded version” of a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, enhancing cooperation in industrial parks, agriculture and mining, new energy, as well as early implementation of major connectivity projects.

At the same time, he called for security for Chinese interests.

“We hope the Pakistani side will guarantee the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel in Pakistan,” the ministry cited Xi as telling Kakar.

Kakar said on Wednesday Pakistan had completed more than 50 projects worth $25 billion under the CPEC, a flagship project under China’s BRI with more than $65 billion pledged for road, rail and other infrastructure developments.

Xi said China was open to buttressing cooperation within the UN and Shanghai Cooperation Organization framework and safeguard the interests of developing countries.

China also welcomed more high-quality agricultural imports from Pakistan, the ministry said in a statement late on Thursday.

Separatist insurgents in Pakistan’s resource-rich Baluchistan province say China has ignored warnings not to enter deals with the Pakistani government. China has also warned of the danger of militants in Pakistan.

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