In what is termed as the most significant visit to China by a Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan arrived in Beijing in recent years as the all-weather allies grapple to iron out differences over the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Islamabad approaching ‘friendly nations’ to avoid a tough International Monetary Fund bailout package.
Khan’s visit evoked considerable interest as it comes in the wake of his past criticism of the $50 billion CPEC projects and remarks by his ministers to cut down some of the projects over debt concern.
The superstar cricketer-turned-politician, during his first visit to China, is also expected to seek more Chinese loans to avoid approaching IMF for a bailout package. He secured $3 billion funding from his recent visit to Saudi Arabia besides differed payment for oil imports worth about $3 billion for a year.
Khan arrived in the early hours for his four-day visit, official sources said.
He is scheduled to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on shoring up the all-weather ties. Both the countries are expected to sign several agreements.
He will also attend China’s International Import Expo on November 5 in Shanghai during the visit, billed as the most significant one by a Pakistani Prime Minister to China in recent years.
Reports in the Pakistan media said Khan was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Advisor on Commerce and Trade Abdul Razzak Dawood, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed among others.