Islamabad: On the first day of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit, Pakistan and China on Friday signed a series of agreements and Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) on expanding co-operation between the two countries. Wen flew to Islamabad after a two-day visit to India armed with multi-billion dollar deals to reassure Pakistan that military and economic ties remain tight, despite China’s warming relations with India.
Along with his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani, Wen witnessed the signing of bilateral deals on trade and business deals in areas of trade, health, education, agriculture, energy and infrastructure. Earlier, Wen and Gilani held a one-on-one meeting followed by delegation level meetings.
At a news conference following the signing ceremony on Friday evening, Pakistani Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said Pakistan expected 14 billion U.S. dollars of investment in 36 projects identified by the Economic Cooperation Group (ECG), to be completed by 2016.
Another five billion U.S. dollars of investment was likely in other projects, Karai said, and predicted commercial deals of 10 billion U.S. dollars to be signed on Saturday at a Pakistan-China Business Summit.
“Business to business deals worth 10 billion U.S. dollars are expected to be signed. The 36 projects identified by the economic co-operation group are expected to bring in 14 billion U.S. dollars of investment. Another five billion U.S. dollars of investment will be brought in through other projects,”
Kaira said China would also provide 400 million U.S. dollars in soft loans for reconstruction from August’s devastating floods. Wen’s visit to Pakistan is to reassure China’s ally that Beijing’s improving ties with India do not come at Pakistan’s expense.
Wen signed more than 16 billion U.S. dollars worth of trade deals and promised political support. While China is India’s largest trade partner, it invests seven times more in Pakistan and is helping it build nuclear reactors, despite grave misgivings in the West.-Reuters