Masood Khalid, Ambassador of Pakistan to China
Pakistani Ambassador to China Masood Khalid told Beijing Review on October 16 how he views the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The following is an edited version of the interview:
Beijing Review: How do you view China's achievements both at home and on the world stage since the 18th National Congress was held in November 2012? What impresses you most during your term in China?
Masood Khalid: Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with President Xi Jinping as the core, China has undergone an all-round transformation since the 18th National Congress in 2012. China has regained its historical status as major economic and military power. During the last five years, China has made great strides into poverty alleviation, scientific development, space exploration, communication and infrastructure advancements, and in military and economic domains. Despite widespread skepticism, China has successfully achieved its economic targets with sustainable growth. At international stage, China has emerged as the harbinger of global commerce, trade and connectivity. While the world faces turmoil, economic meltdowns and stagnation, President Xi has presented a practical solution with the Belt and Road Initiative to promote integration and connectivity. China has been a leading voice on issues of global importance. Be it terrorism, Climate Change, UN peacekeeping, global epidemics including Ebola or HIV, trade and commerce, China has increasingly made her voice heard on all international forums, representing the whole world and developing countries in particular.
Since the process of reforms and opening up kick-started in 1978, China has achieved a miracle of bringing more than 700 million people out of poverty in a time span of one generation. China's story of success is the story of continuous struggle, vigor and wisdom, and a source of inspiration for the whole world, especially developing countries.
What are your expectations of this Congress and the next five years?
Under the banner of CPC and the leadership of President Xi, China is poised to carry forward the momentum of reforms and opening-up to next stage. Continuity and stability have been the lynchpins in China's journey for historic transformation. I am fully confident that the people of China will realize the dream of all-around well-off society and eradication of poverty. The breakthroughs in last five years in scientific research and development, innovation in communication and infrastructure, and progress in national defense and economy, have laid solid foundation for realizing the rejuvenation of Chinese nation.
What do you think about CPC's governing capacity?
Communist Party of China is the largest political party in the world with more than 89 million members. CPC has on its credit the achievements that are unparalleled in human history. All the accomplishments that we see in China today rest on the dynamism, resilience and vigor of CPC. Under the spirit of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, CPC has pragmatically transformed itself in accordance with new situations and conditions. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi as the core, CPC is striving for more responsive, transparent and clean governance. I have no doubt that with the support of Chinese people, CPC will continue to steer China towards the fulfillment of the Chinese Dream.
What do you think of the Belt and Road Initiative that was proposed by President Xi Jinping?
Our World is increasingly becoming unstable and uncertain. The security environment is worsening with conflicts, world is facing recurring economic slowdowns, a huge number of population of the world is mired with poverty, disease and deprivation. These new challenges require a new approach.
President Xi presented his vision of the Belt and Road Initiative in this backdrop. The Belt and Road Initiative, based on win-win cooperation, shared prosperity, mutual respect and assistance, by building new avenues of trade and connectivity through land and sea, presents a practical, viable and lasting solution. Through increased connectivity and trade, the world can jointly fight poverty, disease and deprivation. Improvements in standards of living through job creation, building infrastructure through investments, and economic development through trade are the key factors that can change the world. There is no denying the fact the world needs more cooperation, connectivity and collaboration than ever before. As the Prime Minister of Pakistan once said "shared prosperity is the real prosperity." And the vision of President Xi provides the right guide in that direction.
Is there new progress in cooperation between China and Pakistan in the past five years? What do you think of the cooperation with China?
The Pakistan-China friendship is spanned over a history of more than sixty years. Our friendship is based on mutual trust, win-win cooperation and commonality of interests, that has stood the test of time. We have enjoyed an all-round robust bilateral cooperation for many decades. However, after the 18th National Congress, Premier Li Keqiang paid his first visit to Pakistan in May 2013, followed by the historic visit of President Xi Jinping in May 2015. The President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan have also visited China on several occasions since 2013. The consensus reached between the leaderships of the two countries has turned a new page in bilateral cooperation. Under the Belt and Road Initiative, both sides agreed to launch China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a flagship project. We have made tremendous progress in key areas of trade, investment, energy and infrastructure. The government and people of Pakistan are committed to implement the consensus of tour leadership on CPEC.
With regard to the future of our cooperation, the launch of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has transformed our bilateral cooperation, with immense potential. It has opened up new opportunities for business, people-to-people linkages, cultural cooperation and trade. I am confident that our friendship will continue to grow into a more robust, comprehensive and inclusive partnership.