Dialogue between China-South Asia Local Government Leaders: Closer Regional Co-operation for Inclusive Development Remarks by the Consul General, Muhammad Mudassir Tipu (14 July, 2018)

The Honourable Governor of Yunnan Province,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed a great honour and privilege for me to be here today participating in the ‘Dialogue between China-South Asia Local Government Leaders’, as part of the China-South Asia Co-operation Forum.

2. I am deeply impressed by the profound economic development that Yunnan province has undergone in the past several years. Kunming city, the capital of Yunnan, looks majestical, vibrant, modern, and promising. I cannot help but mention here how deeply touched I was when I visited the Minorities Village in Kunming. The Minorities Village typifies China’s cultural relics and how perceptively and inclusively China is keen to preserve history and cultural expressions of its minorities who have inhibited China for centuries. Tibetan culture, Muslim culture, Buddhist culture, Mongol culture, to name a few, all find their history embodied in the Minorities Village, where antiquity meets modernity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

3. The theme of today’s Dialogue, ‘Closer Regional Co-operation for Inclusive Development’ is very important and relevant.

4. Before moving on to regional co-operation we need to conceptualize the role of the local governments in the 21st century.

5. How do we conceive local governments and cities in the age of globalization and massive social and economic transformation? How do local governments deliver services that meet demands of millions of individuals living in metropolises? In the age of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things, broader connectivity, logistical expansion, rapid means of communications, fake news, etc. how do we manage and govern our living spaces making them more liveable, convenient, and environmentally-friendly? How do we define a strategic and coherent vision to look beyond the obvious and delve deep into future and build cities that have ability to readjust with swift and often, mind-boggling, changes in technology. How do we ensure that our developmental goals do not conflict with the imperatives of building a healthy society that is not impacted by environmental degradation or deforestation? How to create right balance between technology and moral obligations of a society? What kind of future we want to bequeath to our children in the age of seismic technological changes?

6. Today’s Dialogue will be touching upon those deeper issues which can be effectively resolved through co-operation and exchange of ideas and talent.

7. Fortunately China’s learning curve in handling the issues mentioned above has been quite steep remarkable. Some of the Governors and Mayors of China have vaster and richer experience of managing social transition and change, in their provinces and cities, than the heads of States or governments of many countries.

8. Let’s look at Yunnan’s development curve in recent years. The province, with a GDP of nearly 260 billion US dollars, borders Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam and is growing very fast economically. Yunnan is home to number of Economic and Technological Development zones such as:

(a) Kunming Economic and Technological Development Zone
(b) Kunming New & Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone and
(c) Ruili Border Trade Economic Cooperation Zone.

9. The development push of Yunnan is likely to create enormous opportunities for South Asian countries to expand their economic choices and mitigate poverty. Closer co-operation between Yunnan and South Asian countries can indeed benefit the whole region.

10. A clear and very successful manifestation of the closer regional co-operation is the projects of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and the One Belt One Road Initiative.

11. CPEC has added a new socio-economic development dimension to our already strong relations. CPEC has evolved into a concept of mutual prosperity – an intersection where both nations’ visions of development and prosperity meet.

12. Pakistan believes that a comprehensive approach to regional peace, development, and stability is essential for its long term prosperity. It is, therefore, necessary that we develop holistic, inclusive, and novel approaches for regional integration and governance for closer regional co-operation and inclusive development.

13. President Xi Jinping’s vision of One Belt One Road (OBOR) is a model of inter-regional and intra-regional integration and connectivity based on the concept of mutual prosperity and win-win cooperation. When this visionary concept translates into reality across the regions and continents, it would entail unparalleled dividends in economy, trade, and infrastructure and energy resource development for all the countries associated with OBOR. Just like the traditional Silk Route, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road will connect different regions and civilizations.

14. Pakistan’s long coastline also makes our ports of Gwadar and Karachi as key transit points on the Maritime Silk Road and can open up many opportunities for Yunnan too.

15. Let me also say a few words here on growing and deepening bilateral relations between Yunnan and Pakistan:

Yunnan-based companies are working on projects in Pakistan. These include China Yunnan Sunny Road and Bridge Co. Ltd. and Yunnan Chengda Glass Enterprises, YEIG International Development Co., Kunming Evergreen Co. ltd, and Yunlong Xinda Minning & Technology Co. China Yunnan Sunny Road & Bridge Co. is working on the 33 km segment of our Motorway as part of CPEC.

Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and FPCCI participate regularly in the China-South Asia Expo held every year in Kunming.

A Pakistan Study Centre has been established in the Yunnan Minzu University in Kunming which will play an important role in solidifying ties between Pakistan and Yunnan.

In 2016, Yunnan government started organizing a series of training workshops for doctors and officials of Baluchistan Province dealing with Polio control and eradication program. The first workshop was held in February 2016, followed by two more in July 2016 and July 2017.

The co-operation in Science and Technology between Pakistan and Sichuan is expanding and becoming multi-dimensional.

Senior Pakistani leaders regularly visit Yunnan and discuss issues of mutual concern. In this year’s Kunming Fair Pakistan is represented by a large delegation including members of Pakistan’s business community and Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry; a senior civil servant from Commerce Ministry; eminent scholars from Pakistan’s think-tanks; and distinguished professors from National University of Science and Technology. More than hundred and fifty exhibitors from Pakistan have put-up their stalls in the Kunming Fair.

16. While concluding, I congratulate the Yunnan government for holding a successful and productive China-South Asia Co-operation Forum which I am confident will create closer linkages between the regional countries and China and help reinforce the process of inclusive regional development. Pakistan remains committed to support such endeavours.

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