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China to deepen strategic ties with Pakistan: Wen

world Updated: Dec 17, 2010 20:03 IST

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China wants to deepen its strategic partnership with Pakistan in view of "complex and fluid international and regional circumstances", Premier Wen Jiabao said on Friday as he began a landmark three-day visit to the country.

"China and Pakistan are all-weather cooperation partners. Under the complex and fluid international and regional circumstances, it is a firm policy of the Chinese government to further cement and deepen the strategic partnership of cooperation with Pakistan," he said in his arrival statement at Chaklala airbase.

Wen, who was accorded a red carpet welcome being personally received by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, described Pakistan as an "important country in the region" that has made "positive" contributions to peace, stability and development.

He said that the visit would help to push forward "bilateral pragmatic cooperation" and lift economic and trade cooperation to a new height.

"The purpose of my visit this time is to solidify friendship, deepen cooperation, support Pakistan's efforts of post-disaster reconstruction, and ring in, together with Pakistan, the 60th anniversary of China-Pakistan diplomatic relations in 2011," Wen said.

The Chinese premier will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart and other leaders on bilateral cooperation and issues of shared interest.

He will attend a China-Pakistan business summit and meet Pakistanis who have contributed to the friendship between the two countries.

Chinese assistant foreign minister Hu Zhengyue said that his country's participation in Pakistan's post-flood reconstruction is one of the main issues of Wen's visit.

"We will continue to do what we can to support the Pakistani people," Hu said.

China pledged $ 250 million to Pakistan after the country was devastated by unprecedented floods in July-August.

The talks at the Prime Minister's House will be followed by the signing of about 20 agreements and Memorandums of Understandings for cooperation in areas like economy, energy and communications.

A 250-member delegation of businessmen is accompanying Wen, who traveled to Islamabad after a three-day visit to India.

Wen will meet President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday evening.

Zardari will host a banquet for the Chinese leader that is expected to be attended by all of Pakistan's top political leaders, including those from the opposition.

The Chinese Premier will address a joint session of parliament on December 19 besides interacting with the Pakistani media and people from different walks of life.

He will leave Pakistan on Sunday afternoon.

According to Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Khan, both countries will form an energy working group to enhance cooperation in oil, gas, coal and conventional power.

A maritime cooperation agreement too will be signed.

Projects worth up to $20 billion have been completed in Pakistan with Chinese help.

Work on projects worth $14 billion is underway while agreements for projects worth another 20 billion dollars will be signed during Wen's visit.

Pakistan is China's second largest trading partner in South Asia and China is Pakistan's third largest trading partner, third largest import source and fifth largest export market.

The trade volume between China and Pakistan during January-September totalled USD 6.22 billion, up 29.9% for the same period in 2009.