- BRI becomes a major diplomatic initiative of China’s Foreign Policy
SLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan is all set to visit China in April to join other foreign heads of state and governments at the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation being held next month in Beijing.
The BRI, proposed by Xi in 2013, has brought countries and regions together through enhanced trade, infrastructure development, investment, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. A total of 152 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation documents with China on the initiative over the past six years, official statistics show.
A well placed source told DiploMag that Prime Minister Imran Khan has been invited by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Forum.
“Chinese and Pakistani diplomatic channels have been opened to discuss modalities of the upcoming trip of Prime Minister Imran Khan. In this regard, China’s Minister for Public Security would visit Pakistan this month to formally invite prime minister Imran Khan,” the source said.
China’s State Counselor, also the foreign minister Mr Wang Yi has revealed that thousands of delegates from over 100 countries are expected to attend.
Wang Yi says China will fully implement the eight major initiatives announced at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and continuously deepen Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation.
Wang says the BRI is instead an “economic pie” due to which the East Africa now has its first expressway, the Maldives has built its first inter-island bridge, Belarus is able to produce sedans and Kazakhstan is connected to the sea. Southeast Asia is constructing a high-speed railway.
“And the Eurasian continent is benefiting from the longest distance freight train service. It is not a geopolitical tool, but a great opportunity for shared development,” Wang Yi says.
Experts believe that China, in the backdrop of a fast changing world, is all set to offer Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) as a major diplomatic and development initiative and Belt and Road Forum would prove to be another milestone in this regard.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, one of the top experts on China, says that the BRI, launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, is the most important diplomatic & Developmental Initiative of the 21st Century.
“The popularity of the BRI stems from the fact that it is inclusive, based on win-win cooperation, with no losers or victors, and promotes connectivity through corridors of commerce and trade,” he added.
Senator Mushahid, also Chairman of Pakistan, China Institute, says that China’s foreign policy model was based on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Thought.
“Xi Jinping Thought was formally enshrined as the principal guideline of China’s foreign policy during the June 2018 major conference on foreign affairs in Beijing. At that Conference, President Xi Jinping told Chinese foreign policy officialdom to ‘have a clear understanding of China’s status and role in the evolving world pattern'”.
Senator Mushahid Hussain told this scribe that this new peaceful model of Chinese diplomacy is in sharp contrast to the US or other Western countries who are building barriers to trade, communication & connectivity, or relying on use of force to resolve issues.
“Basically, this ‘evolving world’ and ‘China’s status and role’ in it need to be viewed in the context of three new global realities. First, the balance of economic and political power is shifting from the West to the East, with the 21st Century viewed as the ‘Asian Century’,” he said and added that China as the world’s second biggest economy is the biggest proponent of Globalisation, fueling 30% of global growth.
Wang Yi says that China will continue to follow a peaceful development path, uphold the existing international system, favor cooperation over confrontation while shouldering more responsibilities, as the country moves closer to the world’s center stage.
“China’s diplomacy has reached a new starting point,” Wang said. “China will surely become stronger but not assertive; China values independence but will not go forward alone; China stands up for its rights but never seeks hegemony.”
Wang Yi also said the fundamental guideline for China’s diplomatic work in the new era is Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, which points the way for navigating through a complex array of issues in today’s world.
“China and the United States stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation,” the state councilor said. The interests of the two countries are indeed inseparable. Bilateral trade surpassed 630 billion U.S. dollars last year, with cumulative bilateral investment reaching 240 billion dollars.
Wang noted the substantial progress made in the ongoing economic and trade consultations.
“We still have a positive outlook on China-U.S. relations. The two countries will not, and should not descend into confrontation,” he said.
“A key part of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy is developing a new path of state-to-state relations featuring dialogue instead of confrontation, partnership instead of alliance,” says Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies. Ends/-
Miami’s top architect Kobi Karp enters Pakistani market
ISLAMABAD: Miami’s leading architect Kobi Karp the name behind some of Miami’s most iconic developments including the Four Seasons Private Residences and the Legacy Tower, South Beach has completed the designs for the $30 Million luxury residential tower One Canal Road by Diyar Homes.
The design includes in excess of 25,000 square feet of amenity space finished with the finest VERSACE ceramics by the leading Italian design house and includes a sky pool which will be amongst Lahore’s highest above the penthouse floor of the building.
Commenting on the design of the project from an exclusive press conference in London’s plush Grosvenor House, Hotel on Park Lane, Kobi said “I have designed One Canal Road to the highest of international standards, the development rivals any of the best buildings I have designed in Miami or the Middle-East. One Canal Road will be an icon in Lahore’s skyline”.
Kobi Karp architects are Miami’s leading design studio, a multi award winning practice that have been involved in projects across the world including some of the most iconic developments in Miami including Astor & Edison Hotels, Palazzo Del Sol, Four Seasons Private Residences and private luxury homes for the likes of NBA start Juwan Howard and landmark developments in the Middle-East in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Further adding Kobi said “It’s an honour to work on our first project in Pakistan and in a location of this kind at the heart of Lahore, I don’t think we could have had a better project and developer (Diyar Homes) to start with in Pakistan. For me great architecture is the crossover over between design and art. At Kobi Karp Architects we create timeless landmark architecture that stands the test of time. One Canal Road will be a landmark in Lahore”.
On his vision for One Canal Road Kobi added, “Every part of One Canal Road has been planned with exceptional attention to detail, from capitalising on the 360 degree views a location of this kind boasts, to the hotel style 6500 square foot lobby with 28 feet high ceilings, to the fitness centre, spa, and sky pool every inch of this development has been planned to create the penultimate luxury residential address in Lahore”.
Discussing the amenities Kobi said “Our amenities are en-par with the most luxury hospitality sector 5* hotel projects I have done across the world. With over 25,000 square feet of amenities and only 111 luxury residences One Canal Road presents the pinnacle of luxury living”.
Luxury residents private fitness suite.
One Canal Road, Lahore is a $30 Million project by UAE based Diyar Homes. Diyar recently announced a collaboration with VERSACE ceramics as Lahore’s first project where finishing of floors and walls will be by the leading Italian design house.
Pakistan records 70 per cent rise in exports to China
Pakistan enjoys zero duties on exports of hundreds of products to China under free trade deal
ISLAMABAD – In a major development, Pakistan has recorded nearly 70% increase in exports to China in the first quarter of 2021, an official has told media.
“Impressive figures of Pakistan’s exports to China in 1st quarter of year 2021. $888 million as compared to 2020′ Q1 $526 million. An increase of 69%,” Moin ul Haque, Pakistan’s ambassador to China, said on Twitter.
Haque praised his team for, encouraging for more: “Let us keep this momentum to achieve a historic record in 2021.”
Last year, phase two of the much-touted China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement came into effect, which now allows Pakistani manufacturers and traders to export around 313 new products to the Chinese market with zero duties.
Pakistan is already enjoying zero duties on exports of 724 products to China under the first free trade pact signed between the two countries in 2006. After implementation of the second pact, Pakistan has been now allowed to export more than 1,000 products to China with zero duties. The new facility is particularly benefiting the agriculture, leather, confectionary items, and biscuits product sectors as well.
In 2019, Pakistan also signed an agreement with China to use Chinese currency for bilateral trade to get rid of the dollar burden in $15 billion bilateral trade.
According to official data, Pakistan and China’s bilateral trade volume grew to some $15.6 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, up from $2.2 billion in 2005.
The two longtime allies are also partners in the multi-million-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious project to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks to boost trade and stimulate economic growth.
The $64 billion mega-project signed in 2014 aims to connect China’s strategically important northwestern Xinjiang province to the Gwadar port in southern Pakistan through a network of roads, railways, and pipelines to transport cargo, oil, and gas.
The economic corridor will not only provide China with cheaper access to Africa and Middle East but will also earn Pakistan billions of dollars for providing transit facilities to the world’s second-largest economy.
Exports to other countries
Despite rise in exports to China, Pakistan has witnessed fall in exports to its western neighbour Afghanistan and other regional countries apparently due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic during past year.
The country’s exports to Afghanistan fell 5.57% to $746.3 million over the last nine month of fiscal year 2021, compared to $790.3 million during the same period of last year, according to leading daily Dawn.
A few years ago, Afghanistan was the second-major export destination for Pakistan after the US.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s exports to India also plunged 90.5% to $2.2 million this year from $23.1 a year earlier, according to the report.
Islamabad’s exports in 2020 dropped by over 90% to $28 million from $311 million in 2019, following suspended trade and diplomatic ties with India after New Delhi’s move to scrap the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir.
However, Pakistan’s exports to Japan and some central Asian countries witnessed an increase.
Abdul Razak Dawood, adviser to Pakistani premier on commerce and investment, said in a statement that Islamabad’s exports to Japan grew by 47% to $86.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2021.
“The exports of seafood, petroleum, dry fruits, spices, minerals, woven fabric, knitted garments, sports goods, cutlery & dates increased,” he said.
The official also said that Pakistan’s exports in April also stood at $2.19 million.
“This is the first time since 2011 that our monthly exports have crossed the 2-billion mark for seven consecutive months,” Dawood stated.
However, he said, “the export growth of 129% over Apr-2020 cannot be taken into account due to lockdown last year.”
The country’s exports from July 2020 to April 2021 rose by 13% to $20.8 billion compared to $18.4 billion year-on-year, Dawood noted.
Another 0.5 Million SinoVac doses arrive from China
Vaccine arrives as Pakistan gears up to provide vaccine jabs to people at large
ISLAMABAD – A special plane of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) carrying 0.5 Million consignment of SinoVac Vaccine arrived here at NurKhan Airbase Islamabad from China on Thursday. The consignment is procured on payment from China.
The consignment arrives as Pakistan gears up to provide vaccine jabs to all its people across country after Eid-ul-Fitr. SinoVac vaccine has been tested in Pakistan’s three major cities including Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore and has proved its worth.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned an emergent meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) for COVID-19 on Friday as key decisions are expected from the meeting in the wake of rising coronavirus cases and deaths across country.
Sources have told DiploMag that the meeting chaired by Prime Minister will be attended by federal ministers, chief ministers and chief secretaries of the four provinces. The meeting will review the situation in Coronavirus Pandemic across the country.
Sources in the federal government have informed this correspondent that the meeting chaired by the Prime Minister would evaluate its options to counter the recent spike in infections of Covid-19. Over the past week or so, the average cases across country stand at 11 percent and the numbers are not dropping down from five thousand new infections on a daily-basis.
The sources said that the meeting led by prime minister would discuss the possibility of imposition of lockdown in major cities of the country with a rate of more than ten percent, while business activities in major cities and areas could be suspended and offices closed.
It is said that the decision of lockdown is likely in the cities of Corona with a rate of more than ten percent. Businesses are likely to be suspended and offices closed in the lockdown cities and areas.
The NCC will give final approval to the lockdown decision in the most affected cities. On the other hand, according to the data released by the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), 57,591 Coronavirus tests were conducted during the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of code 19 tests to 1137,742. A further 5,857 positive cases have been reported.
Thus, the number of certified corona patients in Pakistan has reached 778,238. So far, 275,081 in Sindh, 279,437 in Punjab, 19,704 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 71,533 in Islamabad, 21,242 in Balochistan, 16,026 in Azad Kashmir and 16,026 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Coronavirus Pandemic has been diagnosed in 5,215 people. Similarly, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar has already warned that big cities are not being closed yet but caution has not been observed during the third wave of the pandemic.
“If SOPs are not followed by the people, then big cities will have to be shutdown under lockdown,” Asad Umar warned.