Pervez Musharraf to visit China next week
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will make a state visit to China next week, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, his first trip abroad since elections won by his political opponents.
The April 10-15 visit is at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao and is part of regular high-level interaction between the two neighbouring countries and long-term allies, it said in a statement.
The foreign ministry said Musharraf would hold talks with Hu in the southern coastal resort of Sanya, and would have separate meetings in Beijing with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and other Chinese state leaders.
"The president and the Chinese leadership will review the entire gamut of our bilateral relations and discuss regional issues and international developments," the statement said.
Musharraf will also visit Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang region and meet local leaders there.
Turkic-speaking Uighur separatists have been fighting to re-establish an independent state of East Turkestan in Xinjiang. They accuse the ruling Chinese of political, religious and cultural repression.
The statement said the visit will "reinforce the all-weather, time-tested friendship between the two countries and further enhance and deepen our strategic cooperative partnership."
At home, Musharraf has been under pressure since February 18 elections brought his political opponents to power, making the political future of the key US-ally in the "war on terror" extremely uncertain.
The former army chief, who came into power in a military coup in October 1999, has ruled the country virtually unchallenged but now faces a government led by his opponents which has vowed to curb his powers.