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Speech by H.E. Mr. Sun Weidong at the Sangam Club 2017 Gala

(September 9, 2017)

Honorable Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of Senate,

Mr. Syed Jamal Shah, Director General of the Pakistan National Council of Arts,

Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed, Vice-Chancellor of Sargodha University,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Aslam Alegum and good afternoon to you all!

It is my pleasure to join you at the Sangam Club 2017 Gala. Sangam Club is a platform created by the Embassy of China for Pakistani friends who have visited China since 2016. I am glad to see that many friends have come all the way from Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi, Faisalabad, Sargodha as well as many other places today. All the speakers also made affectionate remarks. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I would like to extend my warm welcome to each and every of you, and also my heartfelt thanks to all the friends, especially young generations, for your commitment and support to China-Pakistan friendship.

Just now, in the corridor, I saw warm words are all over the big tree on the drawing board. It comes to my mind that if we compare the China-Pakistan friendship to a tree, then all the friends will be the roots, leaves and flowers. Only with the support from you all, can the tree of friendship grow so well!

Ladies and gentlemen,

As early as over 2,000 years ago, the Silk Road bridged friendship between our two ancient civilizations. The first Chinese Envoy Zhang Qian of Han Dynasty, eminent Monks Fa Xian and Xuan Zang all left their footsteps and records here. Furthermore, the cultures of the two countries are compatible and similar to each other. Pakistan believes that “Trust is more useful than wealth”, and China believes that “An untrustworthy person can not achieve success.” The Pakistani proverb says that a good neighbor is a blessing. The Chinese also say that a distant relative is not as good as a near neighbour.

Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that, “If we relate to each other based on benefits, when benefits gone, the friendship is gone. If we relate to each other based on power, when power fades up, so does the friendship. Only when we relate to each other with heart, can the relationship last long. The development of international relations depends on heart to heart communication between the two peoples.” The people-to-people bonds are meant to build a bridge to link the hearts and minds of the people together. In Urdu, “sangam” means confluence of rivers. Friends present today are coming from all walks of life in Pakistan. You have made great contribution to the solid and enduring China-Pakistan friendship. Indeed, all of you are the rivers converging and flowing towards the deep sea of China-Pakistan friendship.

Ladies and gentlemen,

40 years ago, a large number of Chinese construction workers came to Pakistan to build Karakoram Highway, known as China-Pakistan Friendship Road. Among them, 88 workers sacrificed their lives and were buried at the Chinese Martyrs Cemetery in Gilgit. They are the most lovely people. Today, we have two special guests from Gilgit, Mr. Ahmed and Mr. Hussain. They have been volunteering to take care of the cemetery for almost 40 years. They are the caretakers of the China-Pakistan friendship and they are also the most lovely people. Mr. Ahmed and Mr. Hussain were recently invited to visit China, to meet the Chinese veterans and their families who constructed the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan decades ago. I learned that they received warm welcome in every place they had been in China. One Chinese martyrs’ mother even handed over RMB 20,000 yuan (almost 3 Lakh Pakistani Rupee) including the consolation fund she saved for years to Mr. Ahmed to express her deep gratitude. This is the lively reflection of the unbreakable affection among common peoples from our two countries. It also fully demonstrates that the Chinese people cherish friendship and are loyal with a grateful heart. China is a nation which always puts justice and righteousness first. This is why China-Pakistan friendship can withstand test of time and remain vigorous.

Ladies and gentlemen,

During your stay in China, you have enjoyed China's magnificent scenery, experienced advanced modern cities, and felt the diligence and kindness of Chinese brothers and sisters. Behind the development and prosperity lies the aspiration of the Chinese people for a better life and the tireless efforts they have made. China has become the second-largest economy of the world. Such a success owes to the leadership of the China Communist Party with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, to the concerted efforts of the whole Party by uniting and mobilizing the entire nation, and to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. For decades, we have taken economic construction as the center task, comprehensively promoted reform and opening up, and pursued the path of peaceful development. Next month, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be held in Beijing. The CPC is leading the whole nation to achieve the first centenary goal. Our steps towards realizing the dreams will never stop. We will forge ahead towards the second centenary goal, that is by the middle of this century, China will be a prosperous, democratic and civilized modern country, and we will contribute more to the whole world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

China-Pakistan relations have kept a momentum of sustained and in-depth development. It has become a model of cooperation in nation-to-nation relations. In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a historic state visit to Pakistan. In the last two years, the two sides have focused their work on implementing the outcomes of the visit as the main mandate of bilateral cooperation. We have comprehensively promoted the exchanges and cooperation in high-level visits, trade and investment, culture and education, science and technology, security and defense, as well as on international and regional affairs. With our joint efforts, the breadth and depth of cooperation between the two countries keep extending. As the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has entered the stage of early harvest. At present, 19 projects are under construction or completed, with a total investment of $ 18.5 billion. The Corridor projects have directly created nearly 20,000 local jobs, most of them are for young men. More and more Pakistani people are benefiting from CPEC.

Meanwhile, the cultural exchanges between the two countries are continuously growing. In 2016, nearly 200,000 people from our two countries visited each other. 14 pairs of friendly provinces or cities are established. There are around 18,000 Pakistani students studying in China last year. The number of Pakistani students enjoying Chinese government scholarships is 5,081, ranking first in the world. Since the founding of Sangam Club last year, more than 200 people, including teachers, students, medical staff and journalists, have been invited to visit China by the Chinese Embassy. Along with the progress of bilateral cooperation in various fields between the two countries, more and more Pakistani friends will visit China. We always welcome the Pakistani friends to visit China, and the Chinese embassy will implement a series of facilitation measures to provide quality and efficient visa services.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Yesterday, Mr. Meng Jianzhu, member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, Secretary of Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the CPC, and Mr. Yang Jiechi, State Councilor had met with the visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif repsectively in Beijing. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held official talks with Minister Asif. At the press conference, Minister Wang Yi said, Pakistan is China’s good friend and iron brother. No one knows and understands Pakistan better than China. Over the years, Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism and an important participant in international anti-terrorism cooperation. The tremendous efforts and national sacrifices made by the Pakistani government and people for the cause of counter-terrorism are obvious to all, which should be fully acknowledged by the international community. We believe that Pakistan has made all-out efforts in countering terrorism, and it is free from any compunction. On the contrary, some countries should return justice to Pakistan. These words fully demonstrate China’s firm support to Pakistan.

Ladies and gentlemen,

China-Pakistan friendship is a great cause which is built on the consensus of both countries and the two peoples. We are indeed iron brothers. We enjoy all-weather relationship, and all-round cooperation.

As the old Chinese saying goes, “One branch can not make a tree and one tree can not make a forest alone.” China-Pakistan friendship cannot make progress without participation and support of the two peoples, especially the youths. The young generation will be the main force to continuously push forward the friendship and common development of the two countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I remembered, two years ago, when my colleagues and I moved into this new spacious Chinese Embassy, we planted many saplings here. Under our careful cultivation, these trees grow stronger and now even taller than me. I am feeling that the China-Pakistan relationship is like the saplings planted by our predecessors. After rooting, sprouting, blooming and fruiting, they have grown to big trees. Only with the efforts of our predecessors, could our amicable feelings with each other and close cooperation last for so many years. Just like the Chinese people always say, “One generation plants the trees in whose shade another generation rests and enjoys”.

We are here to inherit and carry forward the good traditions of our predecessors. We should plant more saplings and nurture them carefully so as to leave more green trees and mountains for future generations, and bring more benefit to the two peoples. Just now, we have planted two friendship trees at the embassy compound. I wish our friendship grow like those trees with deep roots and evergreen leaves.

May I wish China-Pakistan friendship last forever!

Thank you all!

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