Pakistan PM to attend Beijing Olympics amid calls for diplomatic boycott

Islamabad, Jan 27 (EFE).- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics next month, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Thursday, amid diplomatic boycott calls by the United States and its allies ostensibly over China’s human rights record.

Qureshi told state-run Pakistan Television that the prime minister would attend the mega event to express solidarity with Beijing as some countries have called for a boycott.

Khan will be visiting Pakistan’s all-weather friend from Feb 3 to 5.

“The main purpose of the visit is to express solidarity,” said Qureshi.

“History shows that Pakistan and China have always stood by each other in difficult times.”

The US, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and some other American allies have announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games over China’s human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang against the province’s Muslim population.

However, athletes from these countries will participate in the Games.

The foreign minister said the prime minister would also hold meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the event.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Asim Iftikhar on Jan.13 said President Xi Jinping had invited Khan to visit China to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

The spokesperson said Khan would also interact with the Chinese leadership to boost the “Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership” and exchange views on regional and international issues.

Qureshi said the government formed a special task force on joint projects, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), to increase the investment volume and economic stability.

China has invested billions of dollars through CPEC projects in the South Asian nation.

The foreign minister said the task force held several meetings with Khan.

“Our foreign policy is focused on economic diplomacy,” he said, adding that investment and bilateral trade were very important to obtain that objective.

The Beijing Winter Olympics will take place from Feb.4 to 20, while the Paralympics will run from Mar.4 to 13 in and around Beijing. EFE


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