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Prime Minister Imran Khan has reportedly shortened his official visit to China from three days to two days because his meetings with the Chinese have not been streamlined, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

Prime Minister will be accompanied by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa as well as key relevant ministers, including the Foreign Minister, Minister for Railways, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum, Chairman BOI and senior officials.

Initially, Prime Minister's visit was scheduled from October 7 to October 10, 2019 but the visit was delayed by one day. Prime Minister flew late on Monday night (ie) morning to Beijing and will return on Wednesday night as he is scheduled to hold a meeting in Islamabad, the sources added.

There is speculation that the Chinese are unhappy with Islamabad for unnecessary criticism on CPEC projects and undue delays and the treatment of Chinese companies. Several CPEC projects are being investigated by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which has sent a negative message.

Insiders claim that the ministers and other officials who are accompanying the Prime Minister during his tour have not been provided a copy of scheduled meetings, adding that ministers have been told that the copy will be shared in the aircraft.

Besides meeting with the President and Prime Minister of China, the prime minister will also hold discussions with other officials. Gwadar, Railways and hydropower projects and renewable energy projects are also part of the discussion. Pakistan will also require China to expedite implementation on Free Trade Agreement-II, as the pact cannot be implemented until Chinese Parliament clears it.

Pakistan will offer China to revive Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) on Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode as three big Chinese companies have shown an interest in revival of the entity.

Pakistan will also seek additional package of $ 1 billion from China for export of commodities. Earlier, China extended $ 1 billion package which has been consumed, except with respect to cotton yarn. The source said, Pakistani authorities will also interact with almost 300 buying houses and companies and will request them to set their business house in Pakistan after restrictions from the United States.

"Pakistani authorities have already interacted with some of the companies which have shown an interest in establishment of their business or relocation of their industry in Special Economic Zones (SEZs)," sources added.

According to an official statement, on the invitation of premier of the State Council of the Peoples' Republic of China Li Keqiang, Prime Minister Imran Khan will be visiting China from 8-9 October 2019.

The prime minister would have meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang will separately host banquets in honour of the prime minister. A number of Agreements/MoUs are expected to be signed at a ceremony to be witnessed by the two prime ministers. The Chief of Army Staff will join the Prime Minister's meetings with Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping.

The visit of the prime minister is in continuation of the long-established tradition of the leadership of the two countries meeting regularly and consulting closely on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. The Prime Minister will exchange views on regional developments including the state of peace and security in South Asia arising from the situation in occupied Jammu & Kashmir since 5 August 2019.

The visit will be instrumental in further cementing Pakistan's economic, investment and strategic ties with China. Among other things, the Prime Minister will apprise the Chinese leadership of the government's recent landmark decisions to speed-up implementation of ongoing CPEC projects as well as efforts to project CPEC as a High-Quality Demonstration Project of BRI.

There will be interaction with senior representatives of the Chinese business and corporate sector for deepening bilateral trade, commercial and investment partnership. The prime minister will also be participating in the closing ceremony of the Beijing International Horticulture Expo, as a chief guest, where Premier Li Keqiang will be the host.

Pakistan and China are closest friends, staunch partners and 'iron brothers'. The two countries are joined together in an "All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership". This time-tested friendship between the two countries is based on unparalleled mutual trust, understanding and commonality of interests. The leadership of both countries is fully committed to building closer China-Pakistan community of shared future in the new era. APP adds: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday departed to China at the invitation of Premier of the State Council of the Peoples' Republic of China, where he is scheduled to hold high level meetings with the Chinese leadership.

The prime minister was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning and Development Makhdoom Khusru Bakhtiar and Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Zubair Gilani, PM Office Media Wing in a press release said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

the author

I did graduation from the Government Murray College Sialkot and MSc in Psychology from the University of Punjab. I am in journalism since 1990. I worked in Daily Nawa-i-Waqt as sub editor and staff reporter in Daily Pakistan and Daily Din prior to joining Daily Business Recorder. I have been associated with this newspaper since 2000 as staff reporter. Energy Sector, Commerce / Trade and Industries are key areas of my interest. I have also the credit of exposing number of scams like Rental Power Plants (RPPs), LNG, sugar import, etc.