Pakistan-China friendship much above CPEC: Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing

Gwadar Pro

Islamabad: Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing is convinced that Pakistan-China friendship is much above the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The envoy, who has completed his tenure in Pakistan and will soon leave for Beijing, told a farewell reception here Friday night that the multi-billion-dollar CPEC had definitely strengthened the existing friendship.

“CPEC is not the whole thing. We were friends even before the CPEC. There is no doubt CPEC has strengthened the bonds further but the brotherhood is much above a project,” he said to a loud applause by the journalists who had come to say good-bye to a friend of Pakistan.

Born in April 1969, Yao Jing had entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1991. He held various posts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until he was appointed Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan in October 2015.

On October 11, 2017, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani bestowed its ‘Said Dzemarudin Afghani’ medal upon him for his efforts to promote China-Afghanistan bilateral relations.

On December 14, 2017, he was appointed and then approved by 12th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress as the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, replacing Sun Weidong.

Nong Rong, Head of Ethnic Affairs Commission of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has now been nominated as the new envoy. Ambassador Yao Jing has already held a number of farewell meetings with the Pakistani dignitaries in the recent days.

Speaking at the reception with an emotional and victorious voice, the senior diplomat said CPEC cannot be stopped or delayed on the wishes of the conspirators.

“Yes there are conspiracies but CPEC is going on smoothly. I am very satisfied with the pace of work. Let the conspirators do their job as we focus on development and prosperity,” he remarked.

The envoy said he will miss Pakistan as he had spent 11 years of his career in the country under different capacities. “When I first came to Pakistan I was a junior diplomat. And as I complete my tenure now as the ambassador, I am more in love with Pakistan. I don’t know when I will return to Pakistan but my heart and soul will remain in Pakistan,” he said amid the thumping of desks and clapping.

He added: “It’s a very emotional attachment. Without your support I would not be satisfied with my performance. I am delighted that Pak-China partnership is growing.”

Yao Jing said Prime Minister Imran Khan had stabilised the economy. “Every week there are new initiatives, new plans. Pakistan is also contributing to regional peace,” he appreciated.

He said China and Pakistan were expanding ties on the bilateral level, regional level and on the international affairs.

“We (China) want a strong and peaceful region. With the efforts of Pakistan government, Pakistan is progressing. China wants prosperity in Pakistan. I must say Pakistan has done a great job against the covid-19. We are cooperating more in agriculture. China supports the growth of the agriculture sector in Pakistan. The cooperation is growing,” he said.

The envoy also candidly answered questions by the journalists. To a query on the standoff with India, he said China wanted peace in the region and the world.

“This time three standoff started at a difficult time. India provoked this. We hope India can be more responsible. Peace is important. We would like to tell India Please don’t cross over. Aggression is bad. We will not compromise on sovereignty,” he warned.

To a question about President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan, Yao Jing said, “Our President happily accepted the invitation by PM Imran Khan. It’s on high agenda. There have been high-level exchanges (of visits). The visit (of the President) will take place when it is convenient for both the sides.”

Pakistani media, he said, had been playing a positive role on CPEC. “There is no misunderstanding on CPEC. Pakistan should embark on prosperity. The final destination is prosperous, developed Pakistan. I have faith in Pakistan,” he mentioned.

Yao Jing said he was impressed by the hospitality of the Pakistanis and their love for the Chinese people. “I will give them (the Pakistanis) 100 percent marks,” he declared.

Yao Jing had pushed Chinese authorities to dispatch a delegation of experts on locust to visit Pakistan in February 2020 at the expense of the Chinese government to provide technical assistance to Pakistan for controlling locust.

He facilitated Pakistan by the provision of free of cost assistance around $ 4.94 million in the shape of 300,000 liters of malathion pesticide and 50 sprayer equipment with free of cost online training. The equipment was also provided in three batches to Pakistani by air and sea at the arrangement of the Chinese side.

He persuaded his government for the provision of medical equipment to Pakistan including 30,000 masks, 1000 protective goggles, long shoes, and 1000 protective suits for continuity of the field operation against locust by our locust control teams during COVID-19.

He sent a gift of 18,000 masks from his Embassy’s own share for utilization in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research or Ministry of Agriculture as protective gear against COVID-19.

At the height of the COVID-19 plague, Yao Jing remained continuously in touch with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research or Ministry of Agriculture.

The Chinese side also handed over 12 drones to the Pakistan embassy in Beijing worth USD 0.168 million as a donation for locust control activities in Pakistan.

While the Pakistanis will miss a great friend, they are fully confident that incoming Ambassador Nong Rong will continue from where Yao Jing left.