Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa with China’s General Han Weiguo in Beijing.
Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chinese counterpart Han Weiguo held bilateral talks during his three-day official visit to Beijing. The two spoke about the multi-million China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, defence cooperation as well as regional and bilateral issues.
The meeting comes days after Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit to Islamabad during which he held a comprehensive round of talks with Imran Khan and General Bajwa among others.
Both China and Pakistan’s new government led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan denied reports of differences over CPEC.
China subsequently announced expansion of the CPEC projects to western regions of Pakistan. It is an apparent move to address Imran Khan’s criticism of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s government on the basis that most of the Chinese-funded projects were being bagged by the dominant Punjab province.
A statement by Inter Services Public Relations, Pakistan army’s media wing said that General Han “appreciated and acknowledged high professional standing of Pakistan Army displayed while combating terrorism”.
He also appreciated the level of security being provided to the CPEC by Pakistan Army. Over 10,000 Chinese workers are said to be working in the CPEC projects in Pakistan.
The security for them is provided by the Special Security Division comprising 15,000 troops, including 9,000 Pakistan Army soldiers and 6,000 para-military forces personnel.
The Chinese General expressed his keen desire to benefit from Pakistan Army’s combat experience and also expand bilateral cooperation, the ISPR added.
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi had praised the Pakistani military’s role fostering close ties between the two countries, saying that it is a “staunch guardian of China-Pakistan friendship”.
The CPEC, a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative launched in 2015, is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China’s resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port.