ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will visit China on Friday, days after nine Chinese workers were killed in a mysterious road mishap that shook the ties between the two all-weather allies.
Qureshi is visiting China from July 23-24 on Foreign Minister Wang Yi's invitation.
Qureshi will be accompanied by senior officials, the Foreign Office (FO) announced here on Friday.
During the visit, both sides will inter alia discuss further deepening of bilateral relations, focus on cooperation in the high-quality development under the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), defence and security cooperation, COVID-19 vaccines, counter-terrorism and regional and international issues of mutual interest, according to the FO.
The visit will play an important role in further strengthening Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership and will expand strategic communication and coordination with Beijing on a range of issues, it said.
The visit is taking place in the backdrop of a mysterious incident in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on July 14 in which 13 people, including nine Chinese engineers, were killed.
The incident happened in Dasu area of Upper Kohistan district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where a Chinese company is building a 4320-MW dam on the Indus river.
The accident took place as a bus carrying Chinese and local workers to the dam construction site fell into a ravine.
Differing perceptions between the two close allies whether it was a terrorist attack or a gas explosion that hit the vehicle also added to Beijing's anxieties.
Initially, it was said that an explosion occurred before the bus fell.
Later, Pakistan formally said that the bus fell first due to some technical issue and later on an explosion was caused due to gas leakage.
The Chinese kept on calling it an explosion and also sent a 15-member team of experts to probe the matter.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid this week said that Pakistan has completed the probe and the Chinese are satisfied with it.
But he didn't share details about the nature of the bus incident.
For Pakistan, ties with China are crucial due to its increasing economic dependence on Beijing.
The CPEC launched in 2015 is considered a game-changer by many in Pakistan.
This year the two nations are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and more than 100 celebratory events have been planned of which over 60 events have already been held so far.
These celebrations have immensely contributed to injecting a fresh vigour and warmth in the traditional friendship, according to the FO.
The FO also said the time-tested Pakistan-China relationship is based on unparalleled mutual trust, understanding and commonality of interests and both sides are fully committed to building a closer China-Pakistan community of shared future.
The latest visit by Qureshi is part of the high-level exchanges between Pakistan and China, according to the FO.