Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit China next week to attend the 2nd Belt and Road Forum and hold bilateral meetings with the top Chinese leadership, the Foreign Office announced on Wednesday. China will hold the Belt and Road Forum (BRF), which provides a platform to countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), from April 25 to 27 in Beijing.
According to reports, India has planned to boycott the forum for the second time. Pakistan's Foreign Office said Prime Minister Khan will visit China from April 25 to 28 at the invitation of President Xi Jinping who will inaugurate the forum on April 26.
This will Khan's second visit to China after becoming the prime minister in August last year. He earlier paid a state visit to China in November. In addition to participating in the forum, Khan would also hold bilateral meetings with President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang, the FO said in a statement.
Pakistan and China will also sign several memoranda of understandings and agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse areas, the FO said. Leaders from 40 countries and delegations from over 100 countries, international organisations and corporate sector would participate in the event.
Khan will be accompanied by a ministerial delegation. He will deliver a keynote speech in the opening ceremony of the forum and participate in the Leaders' Round Table. He will also attend the Beijing International Horticulture Exhibition-2019 and address Pakistan Trade and Investment Conference in Beijing.
The forum provides a platform to countries participating in the BRI for exchanging views and experiences on regional connectivity, policy synergy, socio-economic development, and trade and commerce, the FO added. China has played down India's reported plans to boycott the BRF, saying India may have misunderstood the BRI and suggested New Delhi to "wait and see" before taking a decision.
The BRI is a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by Chinese President Xi when he came to power in 2013. It aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes. Beijing already said officials of over 100 countries besides 40 government leaders have agreed to take part in it.
The USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which has been officially designated as a flagship project of the BRI, has become a stumbling block for India to take part in it as the controversial project is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India has already protested to China over the CPEC violating its sovereignty and boycotted the first BRF held in 2017.
(With inputs from agencies.)