Wen starts official visit to Pakistan after India trip

11:25, December 18, 2010      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao started an official visit to Pakistan midday Friday after wrapping up his three-day trip to India.

While in India, Premier Wen joined a discussion on Friday morning with representatives from Chinese and Indian cultural circles, during which he stressed the importance of cultural and youth exchanges in boosting the China-India strategic cooperative partnership.

Calling culture the spirit of a nation and driving force for national development, Wen said cultural exchanges serve as bridges for communications among different peoples.

China and India, two open and lenient peoples with self motivation, have cultivated their brilliant civilizations, and forged friendship and jointly promoted the advancement of the humankind through exchanges, he said.

Wen urged closer cultural and youth links between the two sides to further promote mutual understanding and trust and to properly manage differences and contradictions.

More than a dozen celebrities from the two countries' cultural circles joined the one-hour-long discussion, in which they shared experiences and offered advice for China-India cultural exchanges.

Later, Wen met with Indian opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj, and praised the important contributions made by the party in promoting relationship between China and India.

Wen said China-India relations have kept good momentum, thanks to joint efforts made by the governments and civil societies of both countries.

"During my current visit to India, I had a deep impression that various parties of the country hold positive attitudes towards developing ties with China," the premier said.

Wen appreciated the BJP's efforts in enhancing friendship with China over the years, and welcomed the party to carry on more exchanges with the Chinese side under new context, so as to boost mutual political and strategic trust, expand cooperation and consolidate friendship.

Swaraj said she was deeply impressed by the "friendly" and "frank" exchanges between Wen and the representatives from various parties and circles in India, adding that these exchanges would further facilitate the growth of bilateral ties.

The BJP was ready to make concerted efforts to promote friendly exchanges and cooperation with China, Swaraj said.

Wen arrived at New Delhi on Wednesday for an official visit. He was the first Chinese premier to visit India in four years, which followed Indian President Pratibha Patil's visit to China in May 2010 -- the first Indian head of state having visited China for the last decade.

After wrapping up visit to India, Wen started a three-day official visit to Pakistan Friday noon, in a bid to further push forward bilateral pragmatic cooperation and lift economic and trade cooperation to a new high.

"The purpose of my visit this time is to solidify friendship, deepen cooperation, support Pakistan's efforts of post-disaster reconstruction, and ring in, together with Pakistan, the 60th anniversary of China-Pakistan diplomatic relations in 2011," Wen said in a written statement released at the airport.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other senior officials welcomed Premier Wen at the airport.

As an important country in the region, Pakistan has made positive contributions to peace, stability and development of the region and the world, said Wen.

"China and Pakistan are all-weather cooperation partners. Under the complex and fluid international and regional circumstances, it is a firm policy of the Chinese government to further cement and deepen the strategic partnership of cooperation with Pakistan," said Wen.

Later, Wen held talks with Gilani and reached extensive consensus on further strengthening their countries' strategic cooperative partnership.

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