Beijing, Apr 10 (PTI) Calling for speeding up of its ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Chinese President Xi Jinping today told Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that the ties between the two countries should be a pillar for regional peace and stability.

In his meeting with Abbasi on the sidelines of BOAO Forum for Asia in the southern Chinese city of Boao, Xi called for efforts from both sides to advance the construction of CPEC 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.

The controversial USD 50 billion CPEC connects China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s Gwadar Port. India has objected to the CPEC as it is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The ties between China and Pakistan should become a model for good-neighbourly relationship and international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Xi told Abbasi, who was one of the guests at the Forum.

“The China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership has made outstanding progress since I visited Pakistan in 2015,” Xi said.

The international and regional situation is undergoing profound and complex changes, which makes it more important for the two countries to consolidate the all-weather friendship and deepen strategic cooperation, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

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, Xi said.

What China wants to see is stable development and prosperity in Pakistan, Xi said.

China firmly supports Pakistan in its efforts to safeguard sovereignty, territorial integrity, and legitimate rights and interests. China opposes interference from any country in Pakistan’s internal affairs, and firmly supports Pakistan in maintaining its national unity and the fight against terrorism, he said.

On his part, Abbasi said 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.

After their meeting, the two leaders witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation documents.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.