Pakistan’s youngest foreign minister on his maiden trip to China, since assuming the office, on Sunday said that any attack on China’s interest was an attack on Pakistan and reiterated that the country would not rest until the perpetrators of the Karachi university van blast are brought to justice.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was addressing a media briefing in Guangzhou after delegation-level talks with the Chinese team, which was led by his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and senior officials are also part of the foreign minister’s delegation.
Highlighting the importance of ties with the northern neighbour of the country, Bilawal said China was the first country on his bilateral visit. The incumbent foreign minister, who is the son of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, mentioned the efforts of his maternal grandfather and ex-PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
“Pakistan is committed to a one-China policy and will continue to support it in its policy,” Bilawal said.
On behalf of the country, the foreign minister offered condolences to the Chinese people on the death of three Chinese teachers in the varsity blast. He condemned the incident and reiterated that Pakistan accorded the “highest importance” to the Chinese people, whether they are part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project or not, security.
The varsity attack, which was claimed by a banned organisation, was widely condemned. The US had termed terrorist attacks at universities or religious sites a “true affront to mankind”.
“We will not allow forces to destroy our bilateral ties,” he said, “Pakistan will not rest until perpetrators of the Karachi university van blast are brought to justice.”
He added that both sides agreed on enhancing economic engagement, trade industrial, infrastructure, and financial cooperation.
Chinese FM Wang Yi also gave a positive response to the return of the first batch of Pakistani students to China.
Ongoing regional and international development also came under discussion and both sides. Bilawal was of the view that the international community must fall into the trap of confrontation as every issue could be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, adding that the prevailing situation in Afghanistan poses a threat to the region.
They also discussed the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir situation, with Bilawal thanking China for its consistent support of the longstanding dispute. He added that Pakistan and China have a “unique and time tested” relationship.
Bilawal said Pakistan was looking forward to hosting the Chinese president and Chinese FM.
The FM assured the Chinese workers of providing complete security to them and that the country takes their security “seriously”. “Pakistan associates paramount security to Chinese national,” he said, adding that the country has taken special measures for their safety.
“Terrorists have shown their frustration and we will hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice. And we will foil conspiracies,” Bilawal said.
“Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari thanked State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for the safe and secure return of Pakistani students in a phased manner to China. The two sides also decided to resume direct flight between the two countries carried out by Pakistan airlines at the earliest and subsequently increase directs flights based on the evolving pandemic situation,” read the joint statement issued by the Foreign Office.
Bilawal, Wang Yi meeting
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and discussed ways to boost the bilateral ties, as both the countries mark the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.
The foreign minister, who landed in Guangzhou on Saturday night, is visiting China at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
Both the dignitaries discussed efforts to boost bilateral ties and mutual coordination, according to the PPP media cell tweet. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and senior officials are also part of the foreign minister’s delegation. They had delegation-level talks in Guangzhou.
“Looking forward to meeting Chinese State Councilor & Foreign Minister Wang Yi for in-depth discussions on Pakistan-China relations,” Bilawal said in a tweet on Saturday.
The foreign minister, who is on his maiden visit to the neighbouring country since assuming charge of the office, was earlier in the US to attend the global food security summit. Bilawal had also meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during his visit.
In a news briefing at the UN headquarters, Bilawal had defended former prime minister Imran Khan’s Russia trip, reiterating that the visit was part of the country’s foreign policy. Moreover, he also said that Pakistan must continue to engage with the US at all levels in an interview with the Associated Press.
“During the visit, FM Bilawal will hold extensive consultations with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The two leaders will review the entire gamut of bilateral relations, with a particular focus on stronger trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and China,” read a Foreign Office statement issued on May 20.
Both the dignitaries would also have discussions on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor progress. The two sides would also have a wide-ranging exchange of views on major regional and international issues.
FM Bilawal’s visit will also coincide with the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.