Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday departed on his maiden trip to China, on the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang. The revitalization of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is said to be on the agenda.
The prime minister will be accompanied by a delegation of government officials including Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Railways Minister Saad Rafique and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.
Before his departure, Shehbaz Sharif tweeted that he was honoured to be among the ‘first few leaders’ to have been invited to visit Beijing after the historic 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
In a separate tweet he highlighted the agenda for his discussions with Chinese leadership. Stating that there was a lot to learn from the ‘Chinese economic miracle’, he said, he will focus on the revitalisation of CPEC. “The second phase of CPEC promises to usher in a new era of socio-economic progress that will uplift quality of our people’s lives,” he wrote.
An official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said, “The visit is also expected to advance the wide-ranging bilateral cooperation agenda with the conclusion of a number of MoUs/agreements in diverse areas, and consolidate the momentum of CPEC cooperation in the wake of the 11th meeting of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee on Oct 27.”