SOCHI, Russia — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi promised more efforts to build the cross-border economic corridor during their meeting in Sochi on Thursday.
Both leaders are here to attend the 16th meeting of the Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of Government (Prime Ministers), which is scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
Li told Abbasi that China and Pakistan, as all-weather strategic cooperative partners, have cooperated well in various fields. Positive progress has been made since both countries began building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor more than four years ago.
China is ready to continue building key infrastructure with the Pakistani side, and to carry out cooperation on production capacity, Li said.
"China holds high political sincerity in exploring the building of a free trade zone with Pakistan, to promote balanced trade between the two sides and help companies in both countries to cooperate," Li said.
Li extended gratitude to his Pakistani counterpart for their help in ensuring safety for Chinese companies and citizens in Pakistan, expecting Pakistan to continue to boost security measures so as to create a favorable environment for bilateral economic cooperation.
China would like to continue collaboration with Pakistan in security and defense affairs, and make contribution to regional peace and stability, Li said.
Li welcomed Pakistan to attend the SCO meeting for the first time as a full member and China will continue to coordinate with Pakistan closely within the SCO, in other multilateral organizations and on regional affairs.
Abassi agreed that Pakistan and China have deep friendship and close cooperation.
Both sides are all-weather strategic cooperative partners who share common goals and mutual support. Pakistan will continue high-level exchanges with China, deepen cooperation and add new impetus to the development of bilateral relations, he said.
The building of the economic corridor is going smoothly, and Pakistan will advance the project with full force and take concrete measures to ensure safety for the corridor, Abassi said.
Pakistan stands ready to cooperate with China within the framework of the SCO, he said, voicing confidence that China, which holds the rotating SCO presidency, will advance the development of the organization.