Pak-China Friendship Year Focuses on Youth

During a recent visit to Pakistan, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, with the approval of Pakistani authorities, declared 2011 to be ‘Pak-China Friendship Year’, with a number of projects and events planned to take place throughout the year and with particular emphasis on the role that the younger generation of the two countries can play in forging lasting beneficial business, social and cultural ties. The Chinese Spring Festival on January 27-31 provides the perfect opportunity to introduce Pak-China Friendship Year, and will feature a special business forum, as well as a nation-wide writing competition for school and college students in which they can express their views on this innovative project.

Events in China that will be attended by a delegation of Pakistani officials include the Western China International Fair, the Kashgar International Fair and Urumqi Fair. Furthermore a number of representatives of Pakistan’s print and electronic media business sector will visit China to exchange ideas and forge business relationships in February. In March, a group of officials from the Chinese Institute of Foreign Affairs will be visiting Pakistan. Other events during the year include a Pak-China Friendship Golf Tournament, Pak-China Business Summit and Pak-China mountaineering Expedition. Commemorative stamps and a coin will be issued along with a book on relations between the two countries.

A Chinese youth group numbering one hundred members is currently in Pakistan where they are taking the opportunity to forge friendships with Pakistani youth with a view to strengthening ties between the two countries for the future. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani addressed the Chinese youth delegation focusing on the upcoming Pakistan-China Five Year Development Program, which will kick off in 2012. The Prime Minister revealed that major projects will take place in the fields of information and communications technologies (ICT), education, energy supply, health-care, agriculture, transport and conservation of water sources. Flood affected areas in Pakistan will have the benefit of China’s participation and expertise in infrastructure reconstruction projects. An essential area of skills sharing is in the field of energy supply, where a new Energy Cooperation Mechanism will promote cooperation between China and Pakistan in the development of renewable energy, as well as conventional and civil nuclear energy.

Prime Minister Gilani reiterated that both China and Pakistan are committed to fighting the destructive forces of extremism, separatism and terrorism. He also emphasized that the youth of the two countries will be the focus of the 2011 Pak-China Friendship Year noting that “The youth of the two countries has a special responsibility to advocate the values of tolerance and nurture a culture of harmony within societies and amongst members of the international community.”