Your Excellency Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening. Asalam Alekum!
It gives me great pleasure to attend today's launch ceremony to celebrate the 70th anniversary of China-Pakistan diplomatic relations. On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend warm congratulations on this joyful occasion, and express our heartfelt appreciation to friends from all walks of life for their long-standing commitment to the warm relations between our two countries.
As Premier Zhou Enlai once said, friendly interactions between the Chinese and Pakistani peoples date back to the dawn of history. As early as over 2,000 years ago, our two peoples were already closely connected by the ancient Silk Road. The friendly exchanges spanning millenniums have nurtured the growth of the bilateral relationship in contemporary times. On 21 May 1951, the nascent People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in a move to abandon ideological differences and bring down the iron curtain of the Cold War, officially established diplomatic relations, thus opening a new chapter in China-Pakistan friendship.
The past seven decades have been 70 years of empathy, mutual trust and support between China and Pakistan. We have been standing side by side with each other - be it at the crucial time when New China sought to break new ground in its foreign relations against foreign blockade, or at the vital moment when Pakistan's national security and dignity were at stake.
Thanks to the commitment of generations of our leaders and our peoples, China-Pakistan friendship has grown into a towering tree with deep roots in the heart of the two peoples. It is indeed the most valuable strategic asset for both countries. President Xi Jinping paid a historical state visit to Pakistan in 2015, and leaders of the two countries elevated the bilateral relationship to an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, setting the long-term goal of building an even closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era.
The past seven decades have been 70 years of genuine amity and sincere mutual assistance in face of various challenges. We have always extended each other a helping hand timely to overcome difficulties-be it during the devastating Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, the heavy floods in Pakistan in 2010, or the COVID-19 pandemic since last year.At the end of last January, the first shipment of 500,000 doses of Chinese vaccines arrived in Pakistan. Hence Pakistan became the first country to receive Chinese vaccines. This fully attests to the special, iron-strong friendship that we have.
The past seven decades have been 70 years of solidarity and collaboration for common development. Pakistan is the first country in the subcontinent to recognize China as a market economy and to sign a free trade agreement with us. From Karakoram Highway to Gwadar Port, from the Heavy Mechanical Complex in Taxila to the K2/K3 Nuclear Power Projects, from the China-Pakistan Fraternity Emergency Center in Gwadar to the Lahore Orange Line Project, these iconic epitomes speak volumes for our practical cooperation.
In recent years in particular, with unremitting efforts by both countries, a "one plus four" structure of cooperation has been up and running-with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as the center supported by four pillars of Gwadar Port, infrastructure, energy and industry. Fruitful results are being achieved. Of the 70 agreed early harvest CPEC projects, 46 have been launched or completed. These projects, with a total investment of U.S.$25.4 billion, will help Pakistan create more jobs and build a strong momentum for its economic and social development.
The world today is undergoing profound changes and struggling against the pandemic, both of which are unseen for a century. The global economy has been plunged into deep recession. And all countries are taking a "tough test". Under the new circumstances, consolidating and expanding our all-weather strategic cooperative partnership serves not only the shared interests of our two countries, but also the stability and well-being of the region and the whole world. We should take this 70th anniversary as an opportunity to initiate higher-quality, more extensive, and deeper cooperation, and step up our efforts of building an even closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era.
To this end, the two sides should deepen political mutual trust. We should continue to firmly support each other on issues of respective core interests and major concerns, enhance communication and coordination on issues of strategic importance, and stand shoulder to shoulder in response to international and regional changes as well as various risks and challenges.
The two sides should remain committed to mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. We should steadily push forward the CPEC, and forge new cooperation highlights in industry, agriculture, science and technology, people's livelihoods, and cooperation involving third parties. This is aimed at improving Pakistan's capability for sustainable development and making China-Pakistan cooperation deliver greater benefits to the two peoples.
The two sides should pass our friendship onto future generations. We should ensure that our various celebrations for the 70th anniversary are successful so as to encourage the two peoples, especially the younger generation, to participate more actively in the friendly exchanges between the two countries. This is aimed at increasing mutual understanding and affinity between our two peoples and strengthening the new forces to carry forward China-Pakistan friendship.
The two sides should practice multilateralism. We should stand steadfastly for openness and inclusiveness, and oppose seclusion and exclusion. We should uphold that all countries are equal, regardless of their size. We should oppose hegemonism and power politics. We both should support consultation and cooperation, and oppose conflict and confrontation. We should make new contributions to the settlement of regional hot spot issues, to international cooperation against terrorism, and to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
To conclude, may the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between China and Pakistan reach greater heights. May China-Pakistan friendship be ever-lasting!