Sun Weidong says China wants to deepen relations with South Asian countries; says regional peace key to economic and social development

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong said on Sunday that China and Pakistan were committed to safeguard their common interest in the region.

Talking to a news agency after a seminar titled “Strategic Stability in South Asia and East Asia: constructive role played by China”, the Chinese Ambassador said that regional peace was key to economic and social development in South Asia.

“We have decided to uplift our strategic and economic cooperation and our bilateral relations will reach new heights”, the ambassador said. “This year is Pak-China friendship year and mutual exchange of delegations of students, think-tanks, cultural troupe will further strengthen between the two countries,” he added.

He said that China was ready to cooperate with SAARC to safeguard common interests.

He siad that China and Pakistan were committed to bring peace process back to Afghanistan.

He said that promoting peace and stability in the neighbouring countries was the core of China’s foreign policy, adding that the peaceful South Asia was in the interest of China.

He said that China treated every country equally on the basis of mutual trust and confidence irrespective of its size.

He said that cooperation between China and South Asia was also important to cope with various challenges and alleviating poverty from the region with 3 billion population.

Ambassador Sun Weidong said that China was the biggest investor in Pakistan and it wanted to further deepen its relations with South Asian countries.

For financial assistance and local development in the regional countries, he said China had set up Asian Investment Bank.

“We have to work together for common security challenges and disputes should be resolved through dialogue to overcome wider challenges”, he said.

He said that China advocated joint efforts to help promote regional development goals.

China Arms Control and Disarmament Association (CACDA) President Ambassador Sha Zukang said in his address that China was a major force in the region and a pillar for peace and stability in South Asia.

He said that China was working for peace and stability in the world.

In his address, he gave historical background of China’s relations with neighboring countries like Russia, North and South Korea and Japan.

He said that Pakistan was an all weather friend of China not just an ally.

Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) Director General Masood Khan said that China was a great and steadfast friend of Pakistan. The two countries had passed through difficult times and seen many transitions, but that their friendship remained constant, he added.

“Strong ties with China is the keystone of Pakistan’s foreign policy”, he said.

He said China was working with its neighbors to promote peaceful development by investing in infrastructure, energy and industrial development.

Its momentous decisions were shaping the strategic and economic landscape of the Asia Pacific region, Khan added.

“Its overriding doctrine is peace, not war; defense, not offense; cooperation, not confrontation. China upholds the principle of security for all,” he said.

He said that Pakistan had propounded a Strategic Restraint Regime in South Asia comprising nuclear restraint, conventional balance, and conflict resolution.

As a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan supports the objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he said.

Khan said that China had always played a constructive role in South Asia.

Pakistan and China had a great partnership in the United Nations and other multilateral forums, he said.

Pakistan and China also work together to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention and Chemical Weapons Convention regimes, he added.