China, Pakistan should support each other 'more staunchly' in current circumstances, Xi Jinping tells Arif Alvi
This was China's president Xi Jinping's message to Arif Alvi after he was officially declared the 13th President of Pakistan by the Election Commission.
Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping has congratulated Pakistan's newly-elected President Arif Alvi, saying that the strategic significance of the bilateral ties is "more prominent under the current circumstances", and both sides should support each other "more staunchly".
Alvi was officially declared the 13th President of Pakistan by the Election Commission on Wednesday after he defeated his two rivals in a three-way contest.
"In recent years, with the joint efforts made by both sides, mutual political trust is stronger, and the construction of the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) has been fruitful, which has not only benefited the two countries and the two peoples, but made positive contribution to peace and development in the region," Xi said in his message on Tuesday.
China's multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, Xi's pet project, has become a major stumbling block in India-China relations as the CPEC has been listed as its "flagship project". India has protested to China over the CPEC, which is being built through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
His message to Alvi comes in the midst of reports of unease in Beijing over how the new government headed by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan would approach over $50 billion Chinese investments in various projects under the CPEC connecting China's Muslim-majority Xinjiang province with Gwadar port in Pakistan.
Imran, in the past, criticised former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for the lack of transparency and corruption in the CPEC projects. Newly-appointed Finance Minister Asad Umar has promised to bring about transparency to the CPEC projects, the details of which remained closely guarded secrets.
Also Pakistan, which is facing serious financial crisis, is currently under heavy pressure from the United States to give up its support to the Taliban and prevail on it to halt violent attacks in Afghanistan.
"China and Pakistan are good neighbours, good friends and good brothers that treat each other with all sincerity and share weal and woe, and the friendship between the two countries has remained solid and kept growing despite the fluctuating international situation," Xi said in his message, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.
He recalled that China and Pakistan jointly decided to enhance their bilateral relations to an "all-weather strategic cooperative partnership" when he visited Pakistan in 2015 when he launched CPEC.
Xi said he highly values the development of China-Pakistan relations and is willing to join hands with Alvi to further enhance the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and build a closer China-Pakistan community of shared future.
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