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China asks US to respect Pak’s sovereignty

world Updated: May 20, 2011 00:41 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
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China has asked the US to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty, understand its problems, address its concerns and acknowledge the sacrifices rendered by it in the war on terror.

During a meeting with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday in Beijing, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said he had taken up the issue with US officials at a recent strategic and economic dialogue in Washington.

Jiabao said that the Americans had acknowledged Pakistan’s contributions and assured that they would take steps to improve their relations with Islamabad.

Pakistan Ambassador to China, Masood Khan, said that a new chapter had been opened in Pakistan-China relations. But he cautioned those who were comparing China relations to the US.

“We cannot compare this relationship to any other relationship. We have a long term relationship with the US. By nature they are different. We are friends with both,” he said. Masood said that in the present visit, “we have resolved to take the relationship to new heights.”

The visit of Prime Minister Gilani marks 60 years of relations between the two countries. In what was described by Pakistani officials as a very fruitful meeting, the Chinese PM said that irrespective of changes that might take place, China and Pakistan would be “friends forever.”

The two premiers held a 45-minute one-to-one meeting before beginning talks with their delegations. Fifteen agreements were signed on Thursday between the two countries.

Gilani told the media that China would provide over $400 million to Pakistan which would include a $100 million soft loan in addition to grants for flood relief work and development projects.

Gilani said his trip to China was pre-scheduled and it had nothing to do with Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s May 2 killing.