by Martina Fuchs, Chen Binjie and Chen Junxia
GENEVA, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's new foreign minister told Xinhua this week he hoped to further unlock the economic potential for both countries while highlighting that China's economic development model was an example for the rest of the world.
CHINA'S DEVELOPMENT EXEMPLARY
In an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari hailed the development of Pakistan-China relations thanks to new initiatives such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China.
"I'm hoping that our generation will add and contribute to the relationship between China and Pakistan," he said.
Aged 33 and one of the world's youngest foreign ministers, Zardari, who is the son of Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and former president Asif Ali Zardari, took office on April 27 this year.
He praised China's economic development in the last ten years for ensuring that economic growth benefits the lower portion of the economic pyramid rather than just the elite.
"The way in which China has achieved is exemplary. It is an example not only for us, but for the world as well," he said.
In March, Pakistan's President Arif Alvi met with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Islamabad to discuss bilateral cooperation.
"I think there are a lot of positive outcomes out of our engagement with the Chinese foreign minister," Zardari emphasized.
Commenting on Chinese President Xi Jinping's proposal for "building a community with a shared future for mankind," the minister said that is "the direction that the conversation needs to go into the future."
"The Chinese president is clearly showing leadership on this front," he said.
TRADE, INVESTMENT COOPERATION
Launched in 2013, CPEC is a flagship project of the China-proposed BRI, focusing on cooperation in infrastructure, especially for the construction of energy and transportation projects in Pakistan.
With investments in the country's modern transportation networks including roads and railways, energy projects, ports and special economic zones, the CPEC has been offering potential for Pakistan to promote development and economic growth.
"We're very keen to enhance bilateral trade and investments even further. CPEC is going into a new phase and we're talking about special economic zones and industrial zones as well," Zardari highlighted.
The minister voiced hope for all the CPEC projects in Pakistan to "pick up a pace and momentum," noting that green energy was a strategic priority for future investments along the corridor.
"We are looking to further diversify our energy portfolio and enhance the contribution of green energy such as wind, hydro and solar," he said.
Talking about security concerns such as suicide attacks, the minister pledged to expand security cover to include CPEC and non-CPEC Chinese residents in Pakistan.
"We will not allow any of these inimical forces who have nefarious designs for CPEC or for Pakistan-China relations to succeed," he said.
DIALOGUE, DIPLOMACY NEEDED FOR PEACE
Zardari emphasized that he also wished to cooperate more with China in a bid to ease global geopolitical tensions.
"I really hope and pray that across the world the leaderships of different countries can see the wisdom in dialogue and diplomacy in the pursuit of peace in the resolution of conflicts, rather than the exacerbation of conflicts," he said.
The global economic picture is looking "pretty grim" due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of climate change, as well as the food crisis triggered by the Ukraine conflict, said the minister.
"History will record that at a time when humanity faced these existential threats: What did we do? Did we unite as the human race and together combat these challenges?" he said. ■