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Xi's visit to Pakistan, Indonesia highlights commitment to stronger ties with neighbors

(Xinhua)    16:18, April 17, 2015
(File Photo)

BEIJING, April 17 -- Chinese President Xi Jinpingwill visit Pakistanand attend meetings in Indonesia next week, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson announced on Friday morning.

The president will pay a state visit to Pakistan from Monday to Tuesday at the invitation of Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement.

At the invitation of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Xi will attend the Asian-African Summit as well as activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference from Tuesday to Friday in Indonesia.

Xi's two-day state visit to Pakistan will be Xi's first trip to the South Asian country since he assumed the presidency in 2013.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the visit would provide a powerful impetus to build on the China-Pakistan friendship and deepen comprehensive collaboration.

Sharif said as 2015 was the Pakistan-China Year of Friendly Exchanges, Xi's visit would lift the strategic cooperative partnership to a new high.

"The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC] will be high on the agenda," former Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Zhou Gang said.

The CPEC, a flagship project to strengthen China's connectivity with neighboring countries, was proposed during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Pakistan in May 2013.

The planned corridor will connect Kashgar in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region with Gwadar Port in Pakistan. A project outline was signed in Beijing last November.

During Xi's visit to Islamabad, China and Pakistan will sign deals on energy, infrastructure to education and culture, Pakistan Ambassador to China Masood Khalid said.

After Pakistan, Xi will travel to Jakarta, Indonesia, for the Asian-African Summit.

During this visit, Xi will go to the heritage city of Bandung, West Java, to attend events to mark the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference.

In 1955, representatives from 29 Asian and African countries gathered in Bandung to discuss independence, peace and economic prosperity.

The conference adopted a final communique containing ten principles, which underlined respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations and recognition of the equality of all races and the equality of all nations.

"The Bandung Conference was a milestone for China's diplomacy as China, together with India and Myanmar, proposed the five principles on peaceful relations," Ma Zhengang, a former Chinese diplomat, said, adding that a number of Asian countries forged diplomatic relations with China after the Bandung Conference.

Xi is likely to elaborate on how to define the Bandung spirit in the new era, China's Ambassador to Indonesia Xie Feng said.

The visits to Pakistan and Indonesia highlight China's attitude to its neighbors.

"The visit is a substantial step in implementing China's proposal of building a community of shared destiny with neighboring countries," Zhai Kun, from Beijing University, said.

The proposal is not an abstract concept,but an action plan built on solid platforms like the Belt and Road Initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road fund, Zhai said.

The Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, were proposed by China and are based on the principles of openness and cooperation; harmony and inclusiveness; market operation; and mutual benefits.

The routes will run through Asia, Europe and Africa, connecting the vibrant East Asia economic circle at one end with the developed European economic circle.

With 57 founding members confirmed on Wednesday, the China-initiated AIIB is scheduled to adopt a charter in June and start operation by the end of the year.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Bianji)

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