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Chinese premier's Pakistan trip expected to deepen all-weather partnership

By Liu Hua, Ming Jinwei, Zhang Lingling (Xinhua)

20:20, May 21, 2013

ISLAMABAD, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's first visit to Pakistan since he took office in March is expected to cement the all-weather partnership between the two countries.

Li is due to arrive in Islamabad Wednesday after he concludes an official visit to India in a four-country tour which will also take him to Switzerland and Germany.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao said earlier that China hopes the visit will "send positive signals to the people of both countries and the international community that China values its relations with Pakistan and is committed to inheriting the traditional friendship and expanding the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two sides."

As all-weather partners, China will continue to firmly support Pakistan's efforts to maintain stability and seek development, Song said at a press briefing on Li's visit.

During his stay in Islamabad, Li will hold talks with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and interim Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso. He will also meet leaders of Pakistan's parliament, political parties and armed forces.

"We are convinced that through joint efforts, the China-Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership will be lifted to a new level," Song said.

Since China and Pakistan established diplomatic ties in 1951, the two countries have forged a "time-tested and all-weather friendship."

"Rain or shine, China-Pakistan relations stand weatherproof," said Jin Yinan, a Chinese military strategist with the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army.

Hu Shisheng, a researcher with China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said China and Pakistan are cooperating very well in various areas as all-weather partners and Li's visit will inject new vitality into economic cooperation.

The two countries are expected to sign three intergovernmental deals on economic and trade cooperation, and a Chinese trade and investment promotion group will also visit Pakistan, said Song, the vice foreign minister.

To revive Pakistan's economy and ensure healthy and sustainable growth, Pakistan needs to improve its own "blood-making capability," said Hu, adding that cooperation with China will help Pakistan in this regard.

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