Chinese premier's visit promotes friendship, cooperation with Pakistan

15:23, December 19, 2010      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with Pakistani leaders and politicians and attended various activities in Pakistan on Saturday, the second-day of his three-day official visit to the country, to promote friendship and cooperation.

Wen met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and the two leaders agreed to boost the traditional China-Pakistan friendship.

Wen said he felt the profound and brotherly feelings of the Pakistani people when he landed in the country for a second time after five years.

The Chinese premier said China values its time-tested friendship with Pakistan and hopes to expand bilateral cooperation.

Wen said China and Pakistan are facing new opportunities and challenges to develop their ties and the two countries will enhance their strategic coordination, scale up the cooperation of mutual benefit, better safeguard their shared interests and realize common development.

Regarding the floods which hit Pakistan this summer and caused huge losses, Wen said the Chinese government and people shared the pain of the Pakistani people, and would help the flood-hit Pakistanis to weather through the difficulties and rebuild their homes.

Wen called for enhanced military exchanges and cooperation between China and Pakistan so as to cement the bilateral strategic partnership of cooperation when he met with senior Pakistani military leaders.

On Saturday, Wen met with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, chief of the army staff, Noman Bashir, chief of the naval staff, and Rao Qamar Suleman, chief of the air staff.

The Pakistani military is a steadfast supporter and vindicator of the China-Pakistan friendship, and has played an important role in consolidating and developing their strategic partnership of cooperation, Wen said.

He applauded the close exchanges between the two militaries in the areas of anti-terrorism and disaster relief, and expressed the hope to further enhance their military links to contribute to the development of bilateral ties.

Wen also met Nawaz Sharif, chief of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), on promoting the friendship between the two countries.

Calling Sharif an old friend of China, Wen said the Chinese government and people would never forget his contribution to the development of bilateral ties.

Wen also expressed appreciation for PML-N's commitment to developing the China-Pakistan friendship.

"China is ready to enhance exchanges with various parties of Pakistan, including the PML-N, beef up mutual understanding and jointly push forward the bilateral friendly cause," Wen said.

During Wen's visit, China and Pakistan signed a number of trade deals worth some 10 billion U.S. dollars.

Wen said the deals reflected the huge potential for expanding bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

The two sides inked some 20 trade deals, covering projects in the sectors of new energy, agriculture, cotton yarn and non-ferrous metal imports.

A major deal is aimed at developing wind and solar power. Another one is on remote sensing satellite between the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission and the China Great Wall Industry Corporation.

"Currently, the existing difficulties in our trade cooperation are temporary problems, which we could completely overcome with joint

efforts," Wen said.

The Chinese premier called for a boost in the scale of bilateral trade and investment.

The China-Pakistan trade volume only accounted for one-tenth of Pakistan's overall foreign trade, he said, voicing his hope that the two-way trade could top 10 billion dollars as soon as possible.

On Saturday, the Chinese premier announced a package for post-flood reconstruction in Pakistan, including a 10-million-dollar grant for flood victim compensation and a 400 million dollar concession loan.

Wen told the National Disaster Management Authority in Islamabad that China would continue to help Pakistan in the post-disaster phase of the relief efforts and would provide resources and technical support for disaster prevention and forecast.

China has the expertise in dealing with situations such as the landslide-triggered Attabad lake and would send its experts to address the perils arising from the lake along the Karakoram Highway, Wen said.

On Saturday, Wen and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani jointly inaugurated the Pakistan-China Friendship Center.

The new cultural complex built in Islamabad by China is to promote exchanges among students, media and academic circles from the two countries.

Wen laid a foundation for the center during his first visit to Pakistan in 2005.

After the inauguration, the two leaders launched the Pakistan-China Friendship Bringing-Light Tour, a move sponsored by Beijing Tongren Hospital and some Chinese companies in Pakistan to have free cataract surgery for 1,000 Pakistani patients in two years.

Addressing the ceremony, Wen welcomed the patients to tour China after their recovery, to witness the achievements and the bright future of the friendly cooperation between the two countries.

Wen and Gilani also attended a symposium at the center with people who have contributed to China-Pakistan friendship, and visited a photography exhibition highlighting the history of the bilateral relations.

Outside the complex, the two leaders planted a China-Pakistan friendship tree.

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