China on Tuesday said it valued its 'all weather' relations with Pakistan from a strategic and long-term perspective and consolidating cooperation with Islamabad is one of Beijing's priority.
As the two long-time allies gear up to celebrate the 60th year of establishment of diplomatic ties, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing here today that the two nations want to jointly contribute to peace, stability development in the region.
"To consolidate our friendly cooperation is one of the priorities of our diplomacy. We always value our relations (with Pakistan) from a strategic perspective," Hong said.
"We always handle and advance our relations from a strategic and long-term perspective," he said, answering a question about how China plans to celebrate the 60th year of diplomatic relations.
Terming the two countries as "good neighbours, friends and partners" enjoying an all-weather friendship, Lei said "we will continue strengthen our traditional friendship and advance our practical cooperation in various fields and jointly contribute to peace, stability development in the region".
He hoped that bilateral ties will touch new high this year.
Hong's stress on strategic importance of China-Pak relations followed an article by an official Chinese think tank stating that Beijing is not pursuing a policy of "strategic equilibrium" in its policy to have friendly ties with both Pakistan and India.
"It is not China's policy to pursue strategic equilibrium in South Asia," Fu Xiaoqiang, a researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations wrote in the official media in his commentary on last month's visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India and Pakistan.
The article did not elaborate but it was largely interpreted here as a rare attempt by China to state that it would not pursue a policy to balance its relations between India and its close strategic ally Pakistan.
The commentary, however, argues different factors that drive Beijing to improve relations with India while retaining "strategic all weather" relationship with Pakistan.
While economic and trade cooperation emerged as the "driving force" and "stabilising factor" in India-China relations, "strategic partnership between Beijing and Islamabad originated from common geopolitical and strategic interests," it said.
"Despite differences over some issues, such as border disputes and the Indian Ocean's security, the two Asian giants' economic cooperation is expected to keep them on the track of steady development," it said.