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4th industrial revolution is knocking: Abbasi


Beijing - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that fourth industrial revolution is knocking and time has come for removing the stones and shaking the mountains.

“CPEC Road and Belt Flagship project is exquisite example of mutual cooperation and unprecedented development. Deep seaport of Gwadar is going to become global hub of trade which will usher in new era of development. The time for removing the stones and shaking mountains has come,” he said this while addressing the opening ceremony of the Boao economic forum in China's Hainan province on Tuesday.

On completion, the Gwadar Port would not only serve as a transit and transshipment hub, but become an economic nucleus. He said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor would provide shortest maritime and overland access to Western China, Central and South Asia and the Middle East.

Abbasi held that highways and motorways are vital part of CPEC and the fourth industrial revolution is knocking this way. He went on to say China is playing crucial role in global trade. Particularly road and belt project has assumed global significance. The world is acknowledging that belt and road project is generations’ development.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the fourth major industrial era since the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century.

Abbasi said regional connectivity, open trade and increased economic growth were the key to promote tolerance and deny space to extremism.

Abbasi said Sino-Pakistan relations found no parallel in the annals of history. "In every sense, we are iron brothers. In our region, our friendship is the bedrock of strategic stability," he said.

Abbasi said Pakistan was partnering with China to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity through enhanced connectivity. "In Pakistan today, step by step, brick by brick, a brave new Asia is taking shape."

He said the CPEC, the flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative, was fast reaching fruition and termed it an excellent example of an open, coordinated, and inclusive development paradigm that benefits all stakeholders.

Speaking on the theme of “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity”, he said as home to the majority of the world population, custodian of a large portion of its natural resources and a conduit for trade by land and sea, Asia continued to demonstrate its growing centrality to the economic order.

Abbasi said in 2017, nearly one-third of worldwide economic growth came from the Asia-Pacific region, the bulk of it from China. "As the Asian Century dawns, it is incumbent upon us to realise our real potential and rediscover the wisdom that resides within."

Abbasi called for coordinated and tailored approaches to incorporate the enterprising spirit of peoples and their common aspirations for a better life. "They must include embracing structural reform, strengthening regional institutions, increasing connectivity, leveraging technology and investing in human capital," Abbasi said.

Describing development and security as intrinsically indivisible, he said "only by spreading the dividends of open trade and shared innovation we will be able to promote tolerance and amity and deny space to extremism."

The China-Pakistan-Afghanistan trilateral framework was aimed at achieving these very objectives, he added.

Abbasi said President Xi’s historic Belt and Road Initiative had become a global public good, beneficial to all and was bringing equality to an unequal world. "This visionary and futuristic initiative is a win-win proposition aimed at bringing shared prosperity for all."

He said Pakistan saw it as an initiative of generational impact which would shape the course of the 21st century.

He said Pakistan viewed China’s meteoric rise and growing stature with immense satisfaction and great pride. Over four decades of reform, China has achieved enviable growth, lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and transformed the face of the global economy.

"We have already begun reaping dividends of CPEC rail, road and infrastructure projects. CPEC investment and its spin off effects have generated thousands of jobs. 10,000 MW have been added to our national grid, ameliorating our chronic energy shortages."

Abbasi said establishment of several Special Economic Zones (SEZs) along highways and motorways was integral to CPEC plans, adding Pakistan aimed to offer tailored incentive packages for the SEZs. "We are confident that these zones will catalyse the development of innovation-based industries in Pakistan."

Abbasi said Pakistan’s economy was growing at around 6 percent per annum, the highest in a decade. "Our capital markets have lately been upgraded from Frontier to Emerging market status. Over the medium-term, our growth rates are expected to surpass global averages. And by 2050, we will be the world’s 15th largest economy."

He said Pakistan's population of 207 million reflected immense human resource potential besides a large consumer base. Gelled together, these two intrinsic strengths portend immense business opportunities.

Abbasi said Pakistan was home to 140 million cellular subscribers and added internet and broadband services had penetrated every nook and corner of the country and e-commerce was projected to grow into a multibillion dollar industry.

Lately, giants such as Ali Baba and telecom sector companies from around the globe have shown strong interest in setting up facilities in Pakistan. "It is our earnest desire to see the arc of investment expand further, and to welcome entrepreneurs and investors from around the world to our SEZs."

As a new member of SCO, Pakistan aimed to play a most productive role in utilising this platform to integrate further with the region, the Prime Minister added.

He extended heartiest felicitations to President Xi Jinping on the successful conclusion of the Two Sessions and his re-election as the president, adding "under his sagacious leadership, China, I am convinced, will continue to march forward along the path of national rejuvenation."

Abbasi concluded with a Chinese saying that, “The man who moves mountains begins by carrying away small stones.” It is time to lift stones; it is time to move mountains, he added.

Earlier Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was received by President of China Xi Jinping upon arrival. Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Ambassador Masood Khalid and senior officials attended the event.

Boao Forum is a non-governmental and non-profit international organisation which was formally inaugurated in 2001. It aims to promote and deepen economic exchanges, coordination, cooperation within Asia, between Asia and other parts of the world.

The platform offers high-end dialogue forum for government leaders, enterprises, experts and scholars to discuss economy, investment, technology, and energy related sectors in a collaborative manner. Pakistan is one of the 26 “Initial Countries” of the Forum.


Xi, Khaqan pledge boost to bilateral ties


President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday pledged to re-inforce their decades old friendship, bringing it to higher level.

During their bilateral talks held at the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia, the two leaders discussed wide-ranging issues of bilateral interest, particularly in the context of CPEC, reports Chinese official news agency Xinhua.

China-Pakistan relations should be a pillar for regional peace and stability, Xi Jinping said during the meeting, which lasted for quite some time.

The ties between the two countries should become a model for good-neighbourly relationship and international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi said.

China is willing to make joint efforts with Pakistan to push bilateral ties to a higher level and build a more closely-knitted community with a shared future between the two countries, the President said.

Xi called for efforts from both sides to advance the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and ensure the sound planning and implementation of cooperation projects involving infrastructure construction, such as the Gwadar Port, as well as energy and industrial parks.

Abbasi said that China and Pakistan are "iron friends" who always support each other on issues involving each other's core interests and major concerns.

Hailing CPEC's important role in the development of both countries and the region, he expressed Pakistan's willingness to promote bilateral cooperation in finance, energy, agriculture, infrastructure and human resources.

Source: The Nation