Khar backs ‘balanced’ ties with the West, China

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ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar on Wednesday underlined the need for the world community to work together to find out solutions to growing global problems like climate change and refugees.

In an interview with Voice of America (VoA Urdu), the minister said that Pakistan had close contacts with the Western world, including institutional linkages, whether they were with the US or the Europe Union (EU).

But at the same time, Pakistan also enjoyed close strategic ties with China spanning over decades, she added.

Replying to a question regarding US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent visit to China, she said, “Look at Pakistan, Pakistan has good relations with both. It is every sovereign country’s right to pursue its rights, our interest is in having balanced and good relations with all the countries.”

She further said that if the atmosphere of competition was intensified in the world, it would be a very good example for other countries how to preserve such relationships and encourage them.

Khar said that the world was facing increasing issues like refugees’ influx and climate change problems.

“We all the US, China, EU, Pakistan or India, have to sit together to find out a solution to these issues. With different blocks, these problems cannot be resolved,” she stressed.

About the Indian prime minister’s visit to the US, Khar said that Pakistan would always look positively to bilateral ties between sovereign countries and would not look negatively. There was no need to look at anything negatively, she added.

But on the other hand, she maintained, Pakistan had a very belligerent neighbour who indulged in military adventurism by sending jets in 2019 which was unprecedented and unthinkable.

She said that the world must look into this factor as well, whether those being propagated for their role in regional security deserved it.

“The world have to see whether there was conflict preservation instead conflict resolution due to them (India), then it did not augur well for the region. We hope that nothing would go wrong for the region and Pakistan,” she opined.

About ties with the EU, she said that GSP Plus status only could not define Pakistan’s relations with them as their bilateral engagements were wider and broader at all levels, including business contacts, institutional linkages, IT sector growth, etc.

She also said the GSP Plus not only benefited Pakistan but also enhanced the EU’s trade with Pakistan, adding that Pakistan and the EU countries were engaged at different multilateral fora.

The MoS further stressed that such relations should not be looked through the GSP Plus lens but in fact, their interactions were much broader.

About her recent visits to different Scandinavian countries, she elaborated that certain countries had aging populations and they required a young population for different sectors.

She said that opening legal migration of skilled labour to these countries was their big objective as Pakistan and these countries did not want to promote illegal migration.

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