China’s defence minister told Pakistan’s navy chief on Monday that their forces, especially their navies, should “expand into new fields of cooperation” to strengthen the two countries’ capability in ensuring regional security.
The two militaries have long had ties, with its fleets and air forces conducting bilateral exercises on each other’s soil.
China’s Defence Minister Li Shangfu informed Pakistan’s Chief of Naval Staff Amjad Khan Niazi, who was visiting Beijing, that the military partnership between the two countries was an important aspect of bilateral ties.
“The two militaries should expand into new areas of exchange, create new high points of cooperation, and jointly maintain the security interests of the two countries and the region,” said Li, according to a statement on China’s Ministry of National Defence website.
Niazi’s visit follows the announcement in late April by Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, that the Chinese military is willing to develop a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era.
“The Chinese military is willing to work with the Pakistani military to deepen and expand practical cooperation, continuously push the mil-to-mil relationship to a higher level, and jointly safeguard the two countries’ common interests, as well as regional peace and stability,” General Zhang said during a meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir.
He emphasised that, regardless of the world environment, China constantly prioritises Pakistan in its neighbourhood diplomacy and strongly supports Pakistan in preserving its sovereignty, territorial integrity, development interests, and national dignity.
Qin Gang, the Chinese Foreign Minister, recently visited Pakistan for the first time, meeting with civil and military leaders.
During his conversation with COAS Munir, Qin Gang emphasised the importance of the brotherly nations’ long-standing strategic cooperation and expressed his delight with the CPEC’s progress while emphasising China’s commitment to its prompt completion.
He also praised Pakistan’s efforts to maintain regional peace and stability, particularly the Pakistan Armed Forces’ support for providing security to Chinese nationals and projects in Pakistan.
The army chief and FM Gang also highlighted the region’s growing security situation.