Honorable Dr. Imtinan Elahi Qureshi, Executive Director of COMSATS,
Honorable Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi, Rector of COMSATS Institute of Information Technology,
Honorable Dr. Haroon Rashid, Pro Rector of COMSATS Institute of Information Technology,
Dear teachers and students,
I am very happy to visit the famous COMSATS Institute of Information Technology. COMSATS is a well-known institute of higher education. Its courses of information technology and business administration take the lead in the nation. It makes contribution to the development of Pakistan by nurturing a large number of young talents. Congratulations on your achievement.
COMSATS has held three annual Pak-China Business Forums in the past three years and will host the fourth next March. The Forum strengthens the communication and exchanges between the two business communities and you deserve a big applause. Honorable Dr. Qureshi and Honorable Dr. Zaidi always support cooperation between COMSATS and the higher education institutions of China. I highly appreciate your good spirit and efforts.
Many of you must be very eager to know what is happening in China how about the current status and prospects of China-Pakistan relations. I want to share some of my perspectives with you on that.
As early as the 1930s, the famous Pakistani poet Iqbal once claimed, “The Chinese are waking up from their sound sleep. Springs from Himalayan heights are bubbling up.” (Urdu：Garan Khawab Cheeni Sanbhalne Lage, Hamala Ke Chashme Ubalne Lage) Looking back, China has indeed been making significant progress, especially since the reform and opening-up over 30 years ago. Iqbal’s vision has finally come true.
Look at China today. It gets the world amazed every day with the “China figures” and “China speed”. It creates many No.1s in the world. China’s GDP has jumped from a mere 50 billion dollars in 1978 to 9.3 trillion US dollars in 2013, making China the world's second largest economy. China’s contribution to world economic growth now stands at 30%. China’s total imports and exports reached 4.16 trillion dollars last year, ranking first in the world. China’s high-speed railway operation mileage is over 12,000 kilometers, almost half of the world's total. Last year, the number of outbound Chinese tourists was close to 100 million, making China the world’s largest source of outbound tourists. Also last year, the number of China’s mobile phone users reached 1.17 billion, which is the No. 1 in the world.
These figures could be a window to understand China's development and progress. We have set big goals for the future, that is to double the GDP per capita in 2020. We call it the Chinese Dream which means the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
At the same time, we are clear-minded that China is still a developing country with a huge population of 1.3 billion. We are still faced with challenges such as imbalance of development, lack of coordination and sustainability. Therefore, we need to carry out overall reforms, expand opening-up and change the way of development. We also need to implement economic restructuring, improve social management, promote people’s livelihood and protect the environment.
Why could China make such achievement? The fundamental reason is that we have successfully found the right way of development. We call it the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics and it is suitable to our national conditions. We have properly handled the relations between reform, development and stability. Stability is the pre-condition. Without it, nothing will be possibly achieved. Reform is the driving force and guarantee of social development and progress. Development is the ultimate goal. We want all the Chinese people to live a better life and all the children to grow up with great happiness. We are resolved to continue to follow this road. We will stick to peaceful, cooperative and common development. We will achieve win-win outcome on the basis of equality and mutual benefits with other countries of the world.
What does a peaceful and progressive China mean to Pakistan? I think it means more opportunities for development, strong mutual support and expanding common interests. Pakistan is bound to benefit from China's development. China-Pakistan relationship will also be consolidated, enhanced and upgraded in the course of China's development.
China and Pakistan are iron brothers and all-weather strategic partners. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership. We always put China-Pakistan relationship as the top priority in our diplomacy. We are working so hard with our Pakistani friends to build the China-Pakistan Community of Shared Destiny in the new era. I think the China-Pakistan relations have the following four main features:
First, we enjoy high-level mutual political trust. Leaders of our two nations have frequently exchanged visits in recent years. Mutual political trust is continuously consolidated. President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have each visited China twice this year. The two sides reached important consensus on bilateral relations and other major issues. Both sides will maintain the good momentum of high-level exchanges, firmly support each other's major interests and concerns, and enhance the basis of political cooperation and mutual trust.
Second, substantive cooperation is making steady progress. The bilateral trade volume has reached 11.5 billion US dollars from January to September this year, with annual growth rate of 10%. China is now the second largest trading partner of Pakistan and Pakistan is the biggest destination of Chinese investment in South Asia. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor goes well with substantive results. Currently, we are actively promoting construction of Gwadar Port. We have started to construct RuYi-Masood Textile Industrial Park in Faisalabad and around 100,000 jobs are expected to be created. Chinese government will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Pakistan, support Pakistan's economic and promote social development.
Third, our security interests are inter-linked and interdependent. China supports Pakistan to formulate and implement security strategy based on its own national conditions. China also supports Pakistan’s efforts to safeguard its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. China will work together with Pakistan to strengthen security cooperation and jointly fight against terrorism for regional peace and stability. We appreciate and hope that Pakistan could continue to strengthen the security for Chinese companies and personnel in Pakistan.
Fourth, people-to-people exchanges are much closer and more frequent. This year, an Art troupe from Kashgar has made a fabulous cultural show. Chinese delegation of calligraphers and artists successfully visited Pakistan and held an art exhibition of Chinese paintings. Around 220 Pakistani students are provided Chinese government scholarships to study in China every year. And the number of government scholarships given to Pakistani students is among the largest in the world by the Chinese Government.
I believe you must be interested in Prime Minister Sharif’s recent visit to China. Let me say a few words about it.
At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Sharif attended the Dialogue on Strengthening Connectivity Partnership in Beijing in early November. China attaches great importance to the visit. High-level and unique hospitality has been arranged. President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and other Chinese leaders met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif respectively. They reached important consensus on the future direction of China-Pakistan relations, road-map of substantive cooperation and the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as well as the cooperation on regional and international affairs.
During the visit, Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif witnessed the signing of 19 agreements or MoUs. They cover long-term plan for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and cooperation on technology, energy, finance and so on. The visit fully demonstrated the high-level mutual trust and support between our two countries. The cooperation between our two countries is built on equality, mutual respect, mutual understanding and mutual support. It is aimed at consolidating and enhancing strategic cooperation so as to bring more benefits to our two peoples.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a big idea. It includes energy, infrastructure, industrial parks, among others. The whole territory of Pakistan and all the Pakistani people should benefit from it. Currently, a number of flagship projects are under construction. Just to name a few, the RuYi-Masood Textile Industrial Park in Punjab, Port Qasim thermal power plant in Sindh, Karakoram highway upgrading project in KP and the Gwadar port project in Balochistan. During Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to China, the two sides signed 13 documents on energy cooperation. With the implementation of these projects, the energy shortage of Pakistan will be largely resolved, and Pakistani people will be the major beneficiaries.
Of course, Rome was not built overnight. The same is true with the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. We should plan for the future while tapping the existing potentials. Projects should not be carried out at the same time, but in a planned manner instead. Once the right condition is met, we should get it done. Once it is done, we should get it operated. Energy is much-needed by Pakistan, so we should take energy cooperation as the priority right now. As a Chinese saying goes, people deliver charcoal to their friends in the winter. We hope this could help the pressing challenge of Pakistan. After that, we will continue to deepen and expand the cooperation in other areas such as infrastructure and industrial parks.
It should be pointed out that the China-Pakistan cooperation is aimed at translating the unique friendship into pragmatic cooperation in various fields. Our cooperation always sticks to the principle of equality and mutual benefit. No political conditions have ever been attached. The cooperation is expected to bring benefits to all the Pakistani people and oriented to a win-win result.
The basis of bilateral relationship lies in the friendship between the two peoples. People-to-people exchanges are the cornerstone of bilateral relations and youth exchanges are the most important part. China and Pakistan have agreed to make 2015 "Year of China-Pakistan Friendly Exchange". There will be a series of activities to promote cultural exchange and the understanding between youth, media and think tanks. It will further enhance mutual understanding, trust and friendship between the two peoples and lay a more solid foundation for long-term development of the bilateral relations.
Youth from our two countries are shouldering the great mission of passing on the China-Pakistan friendship. They’re the successors as well as trail blazers of this heritage. Young people are full of energy and have wonderful dreams. You are the hope and future of Pakistan as well as China-Pakistan friendship. For that, I truly hope that you could realize your dreams while devoting yourselves to the national development and contributing to the China-Pakistan friendship and cooperation.
May I wish the China-Pakistan friendship be passed down from generation to generation and long live our friendship!