Economics & Business

Pakistan, China to bolster defence, energy, trade ties

SANYA: President Pervez Musharraf and his Chinese counterpart Hun Jintao have pledged to further boost cooperation in the defence, energy and trade sectors and expressed the optimism that the deep friendly relations between the two countries would be further strengthened in the coming days with the new government in Pakistan. The talks at China’s southernmost city of Sanya covered the whole gamut of issues with a particular focus on Pak-China bilateral relations besides discussions on regional issues and international developments.

Following the round of formal talks, the two leaders also witnessed signing of two Memoranda of Understanding and an agreement. These included MoU between the Ministries of Water and Power of the two countries, another on cooperation in sports and the third for cooperation in the area of engineering, sciences and technology.

President Musharraf and President Hu Jintao had over half an hour long restricted meeting, where he was accompanied by the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence. Later the two sides went in for delegation level talks that reflected convergence of views on regional and global issues. President Musharraf in his initial remarks termed Pak-China relations as time-tested and broad-based and added that these have permeated down to the people¡¯s level.

The Chinese President described President Musharraf as an old friend, who has visited China eight times in as many years and said it was a manifestation of the strategic partnership between the two countries. President Musharraf thanked President Hu Jintao for the cordiality and warmth extended to him by the Chinese leadership.

Earlier President Musharraf, who arrived here Thursday night, was presented an impressive formal welcome ceremony at the picturesque Sanya city, in the Hainan province. With the backdrop of Yalong Bay on the South China Sea, a smart contingent of the Peoples Liberation Army, comprising the three services presented him a salute. The President reviewed the guard of honour.

President Hu Jintao received President Musharraf and national anthems of the two countries were played. Ministers for Defence Ch Ahmed Mukhtar, Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi , Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr Atta ur Rehman, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Muhammad Akram Sheikh and Chairman Trade Development Authority of Pakistan assisted the President during the talks. China is a major source of investment in Pakistan and was supporting the country in various sectors, particularly infrastructure development, energy, roads and dams and in this regard a Pakistan-China Joint Investment Company has been working since 2007.

Bilateral trade between the two countries has touched US 6.8 billion dollars. Pakistan and China signed a free trade pact in 2006 and hope to raise two-way trade to $15 billion within the next five years. Pakistan-China Joint Five Year Economic Plan was signed in November 2006 and the Free Trade Agreement operational since last year has bolstered the economic cooperation between the two countries.

Both the countries have maintained long-term exchanges and multi-level cooperation in many areas, particularly defence. President’s visit is aimed at further promoting exchanges and bilateral cooperation for the development of strategic cooperative partnership of the two countries. Pakistan was the first Islamic country to recognize People’s Republic of China on Jan.4th,1950. Diplomatic relations were established between the two countries on May 21st, 1951.-SANA

About the author

Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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