‘Iron bro’ Pakistan’s Prez Arif Alvi in Beijing to show solidarity with covid-19-hit China
Pakistani President Arif Alvi arrived in Beijing late on Monday night, hours after Islamabad and Beijing confirmed his two-day visit, in an apparent show of his country’s solidarity with China amid the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.
Alvi arrived in China in the backdrop of Pakistan reporting a sharp rise in the number of covid-19 cases on Monday with the total number of infections rising to 121, the highest in south Asia.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying confirmed the visit on Monday evening.
Hua’s colleague at the ministry, Zhao Lijian welcomed Alvi’s visit with a tweet, saying: “Pakistani President Alvi arrived in Beijing at a difficult time for the Chinese people to fight against novel coronavirus. This is his first visit to China as President. Long live China-Pakistan friendship! Chin-Pakistan dosti zindabad!”
Both Chinese and Pakistani officials and media said the visit amid the outbreak is a show of Pakistan’s solidarity with China, which has registered more than 3100 deaths and nearly 81000 covid-19 infections.
“This is the President’s first visit to China, which is specifically aimed at conveying strong support and solidarity of Pakistan towards the Government and the people of China in their battle against Covid-19,” Pakistani news agency, APP, report from Beijing.
“Pakistan and China are the closest friends and staunch partners. The two countries are joined together in an “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership.” This time-tested friendship is based on unparalleled mutual trust, understanding and commonality of interests,” was how APP described bilateral ties
The Pakistani President is likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday besides other top Chinese leaders.
A number of MoUs are expected to be signed, according to a statement published on the Pakistani Foreign Ministry website.
A “few ceremonial documents” including cooperation on battling the Covid-19 outbreak, fighting the locust plague in Pakistan and on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor are likely to be signed, a Pakistani embassy official in Beijing told the state-controlled tabloid, Global Times on Monday.
Alvi’s government has faced criticism back home for deciding not to evacuate the hundreds of Pakistani students who are studying in the Chinese province worst hit by the outbreak, Hubei, and it’s capital city, Wuhan.
In February, the Prime Minister of close ally, Cambodia, Samdech Techo Hun Sen had visited Beijing as the outbreak raged in China.