China a true friend of Pakistan: PM

09:16, May 17, 2011      

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On the eve of his official visit to China, Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said China is a true friend of Pakistan.

"To test a friend whether true or not, it needs time and means under crisis, we appreciate that in all difficult circumstances China stood with Pakistan, therefore we call China a true friend and a time-tested and all-weather friend," Gilani told Xinhua in an interview in Islamabad.

He said China was the first country to show its support and solidarity with the government and people of Pakistan, in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces in the northern Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

As the prime minister of a frontline state in the war on terror, Gilani appreciated that China recognizes Pakistan's contribution and its sacrifice, appealing for a global resolve to combat terrorism and extremism in a holistic approach with regional cooperation.

Looking forward to the China visit, Gilani hoped to enhance the people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two neighbors, among all other bilateral cooperations in economics, defense, intelligence, infrastructure, education and media.

Upon the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China, Gilani and his Chinese counterpart have declared the year 2011 as the Pakistan-China Friendship Year. Gilani said Pakistan will hold a series of high-profile celebrations to mark the unique occasion.

"We are proud to have China as our best and most trusted friend and China will always find Pakistan standing beside it at all times," he said.

At the invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Gilani will pay an official visit to China from May 17 to May 20.

Source: Xinhua
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