Following is the transcript of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Speech at Leaders’ Roundtable Meeting of 2nd Second Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing on April 27, 2019 with the Theme “Boosting Connectivity to Explore New Sources of Growth”
President Xi Jinping,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I want to start by thanking President Xi Jinping and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, for their excellent hospitality.
I also want to congratulate President Xi Jinping and the Chinese nation on the Seventieth Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
China is a great success of the modern age: achieving sustained growth, transforming society, improving the quality of life of a billion people.
This transformation is due to the wisdom of China’s leadership and the hard work of the Chinese people.
Now President Xi Jinping has given the BRI vision; to break barriers, connect people, integrate economies and share prosperity.
Pakistan is privileged to have been an early partner of China.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a collection of projects in road, rail, energy and other fields, aimed at overcoming constraints and achieving growth.
We are building highways, modernizing railroads, setting up power plants, establishing a port, and establishing Special Economic Zones. And a new port is connecting regions and eventually continents.
The CPEC is not a transaction. It is a transformation of our society.
The connectivity of Gwadar Port with China’s Xinjiang region will provide a shorter route for China’s imports compared to the South China Sea, reduce the cost for Chinese companies, and develop western China as well.
I feel that to further boost connectivity and benefits under the BRI umbrella, we should consider further areas:
- Digital Connectivity and better sharing of information about business opportunities and lowest prices.
- Mobility of labour and transfer of skills for cost-effectiveness.
- Cultural links to assist the development of tourism which increases jobs and small businesses.
- Knowledge and Innovation Connectivity to share best practices from BRI countries. For Pakistan, with its young population, future lies in developing skills and integration with the global economy.
To implement these additional areas of connectivity, I suggest that BRI countries:
- Establish a BRI Tourism Corridor for cultural and tourism exchanges.
- Develop programmes for improving the skills of labour from labour surplus countries to assist the labour-deficient countries.
- Create multi-lingual digital platforms for connecting producers, consumers, and skilled job-seekers.
Pakistan is at the cross-roads of important regions.
Throughout our history, we have connected ideas, cultures, and commerce.
Connectivity has been a part of our heritage and CPEC is giving it modern shape in the 21st Century.
As our region becomes more linked and prosperous, my expectation is that we will find it easier to find common solutions for longstanding problems.