Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun Addresses the 17th SAARC Summit
The 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit was held from November 10 to 11 in Maldives. China, as an observer of the SAARC, attended the meeting. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, also head of the Chinese delegation, delivered a speech entitled Working Together to Build a Bridge of China-SAARC Cooperation at the summit.
Zhang made positive comments on SAARC's role in promoting peace, stability and development in South Asia, saying that said that China attaches importance to developing relations with SAARC and hopes to contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia through enhanced dialogue, exchanges and cooperation with SAARC.
Since China became an observer of the SAARC in 2005, China-SAARC cooperation has achieved positive progress, said Zhang. To advance China-SAARC cooperation process, he suggested both sides continue to run the existing cooperation projects, take economy, trade, agriculture, infrastructure construction, environmental protection, poverty alleviation, disaster reduction and human resources training as key areas of bilateral pragmatic cooperation and discuss the establishment of bilateral pragmatic and more effective cooperation mechanism. Zhang said that in support of SAARC development, China has decided to donate another 300,000 U.S. dollars to the SAARC Development Fund.
On the sidelines of the summit, President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed met with Zhang, exchanging views on enhancing China-Maldives friendly cooperation. Zhang also met respectively with Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani, Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Thinley, Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha and SAARC Secretary General Madame Dhiyana attending the summit.