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China, Pak ink trade deals

With 13 agreements already signed, Pakistan and China were expected to ink additional economic deals worth billions more during the ongoing visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to this impoverished, conflict-ridden nation.

world Updated: Dec 19, 2010 00:51 IST

With 13 agreements already signed, Pakistan and China were expected to ink additional economic deals worth billions more during the ongoing visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to this impoverished, conflict-ridden nation.

The two nations also stressed the importance of cultural exchange by inaugurating a new center dedicated to what Islamabad calls their "all-weather" friendship.

China is Pakistan's closest friend in Asia, giving Islamabad military aid and technical assistance, including nuclear technology. Crucially, most Pakistanis view China as an ally that, unlike Washington, doesn't make demands for its assistance. But Beijing is hardly left empty-handed from its ties with Pakistan, which serves as a close, cheap source of natural resources to fuel its growing economy.

During Wen's trip, the first by a Chinese premier in five years, the two governments are to sign deals worth $14 billion for 36 projects in Pakistan, while businesses in the two countries will agree to deals worth another $10 billion, Pakistani Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said.

The 13 agreements signed on Friday included a $229 million donation from China to help with reconstruction from the devastating floods Pakistan suffered earlier this year, as well as a $400 million soft loan for Pakistan, he said.