Beijing [China], April 14 (ANI): Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Thursday said that China will continue to work closely with the new government in Pakistan and will continue placing Pakistan in a priority position in neighbourhood diplomacy.
Zhao made the remarks while addressing a press briefing a day after a meeting between newly-elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and charge d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Pakistan in which Sharif said that Islamabad seeks to take the relations with Beijing to a higher level.
"China appreciates Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's remarks," Zhao told the press briefing, adding that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and ironclad brothers.
Zhao further said "China stands ready to work with Pakistan's new government to facilitate exchanges at all levels, enrich and expand practical cooperation, build CPEC toward the sustainable, livelihood-oriented, and high-standard objectives, and accelerate the building of a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era to benefit the two countries and their peoples," Xinhua reported.
In his address to the National Assembly of Pakistan shortly after being elected as the country's Prime Minister on Monday, Shehbaz had said that developing Pakistan-China relations is the most important thing and a priority in Pakistan's diplomatic policy, noting that China is a time-tested friend of Pakistan and the great and eternal Pakistan-China friendship can never be shaken by anyone.
Pakistan owes most of its debt to China. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which aims to connect Gwadar Port in Pakistan's Baluchistan with China's Xinjiang province, is a flagship project of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
It has been argued by various analysts that China is using "debt-trap" diplomacy to gain access to strategic assets in Pakistan with infrastructure projects in Pakistan being financed by Chinese banks. (ANI)