Gilani arrives in Beijing: Bitten by US, Pakistan turns to China

Prime minister hails ties as he begins China visit amid strained ties with US.

Afp May 18, 2011


Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani declared China his country’s “best and most trusted” friend as he arrived in Beijing on Tuesday in the wake of fraying relations with another key ally, the United States.

Gilani’s trip follows the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US special forces on Pakistani soil this month in a raid that has cast a pall over US-Pakistan ties and has seen a hardening of Washington’s tenor vis-à-vis Islamabad.

“We appreciate that in all difficult circumstances, China stood with Pakistan. Therefore, we call China a true friend and a time-tested and all-weather friend,” Gilani told China’s official Xinhua news agency in an interview.

“We are proud to have China as our best and most trusted friend, and China will always find Pakistan standing beside it,” Gilani added, ahead of his arrival in Shanghai late Tuesday   confirmed by a Pakistani official.

His comments appeared to underscore tensions with Washington following the May 2 US raid on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.

Gilani had no engagements in China until a speech scheduled on Wednesday at a cultural forum in the eastern city of Suzhou, officials said.

He is then to travel to Beijing to meet Chinese leaders including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

The two sides are expected to sign a series of cooperation agreements and discuss how they can better combat extremism.

China is the main arms supplier to Pakistan, which sees Beijing as an important counter-balance to Pakistan’s traditional rival India. New Delhi has recently improved its ties with the US, causing worry in Islamabad.

China and Pakistan were expected to reaffirm their “all-weather” friendship during Gilani’s stay.

China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said that Beijing “unswervingly” supports Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts.

“Pakistan has made very important contributions in international counter-terrorism cooperation as well as great sacrifices,” she told reporters.

By contrast, Kerry stressed that US lawmakers were demanding a review of billions of dollars in aid money to Pakistan.

Facing weak Western investment in its moribund economy and crippling power shortages, Pakistan is looking for closer trade and energy ties with China.

Pakistan last week opened a 330-megawatt nuclear power plant in central Punjab with Chinese help and said Beijing had been contracted to construct two more reactors.

The plans have triggered US concern over the safety
of nuclear materials in the militancy-hit country.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2011.


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Dr. Saleem Siddiqi | 10 years ago | Reply @Indian: India has always worried with growning Pakistan - China relations. I can understand your worries as your Government cannot sleep peacefully. Just check out the following news item appeared today: Growing China-Pak ties worry India NEW DELHI, May 21: India views with ‘serious concern’ growing defence ties between China and Pakistan and says it will have to bolster its own military capabilities to meet the challenge. “It is a matter of serious concern for us. The main thing is we have to increase our capability — that is the only answer,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony told reporters here on Friday night.... Regards Dr. Saleem Siddiqi Johannesburg - South Africa
Asif-Pak | 10 years ago | Reply China has interest in Paistan because they want to use Pakistan so that US cannot make hold of this region; US wants to drive the whole local environement in her favor and China see this threat to her interests. So, it is her interests which is driving her policy. Pakistan also is a big market. China cannot loose it. Emerging countries like Brazil, India etc. wants to take up this market, so China would like to keep pakistan away of these countries. It is matter of business. Only business !!! I have written in another Blog that if China is our friend then what did they help us in the recent floods. If another war is enforced on us then would China come to help us. I think no. !!! China does not need to indulge in conflicts. So we have to find friends from woithin ourselves which are Honesty & Commitment with with our country. !!!
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