China on Tuesday said it completely supports Pakistan on all regional and international issues.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated the stance of his government of supporting the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan when he met Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions 2012.
The two leaders reaffirmed their governments’ resolve to further strengthen ties in diverse fields, particularly trade and defence.
The first official meeting between the two leaders was scheduled for 25 minutes, but lasted for 40 minutes. The two sides noted that Pakistan and China share similar views on important regional and global issues and would continue to extend support to each other at all levels.
The premiers also discussed a whole gamut of issues ranging from bilateral ties, defence cooperation, infrastructure development, energy, agriculture and banking.
Ashraf said Pakistan attaches great importance to enhancing economic and trade links with China which include promoting closer collaboration in projects on energy, telecommunication and railways.
Premier Wen welcomed his Pakistani counterpart on undertaking the first official visit to China. Wen said it reflected the level of Sino-Pak friendship and the importance Islamabad gives to Beijing.
Conveying best wishes for President Asif Ali Zardari and for the Pakistani people, Wen said China considers Pakistan its friend, and underscored the importance of time-tested strategic partnership between the two countries.
He appreciated Pakistan’s role in its fight against terrorism and extremism, and called for greater international recognition of its efforts and sacrifices in this regard. Both the leaders were of the view that the two nations were opposed to terrorism and would continue to cooperate with each other to eliminate this threat.
The Chinese premier stressed upon a regional approach for resolving regional issues and said it would benefit people from all countries. The two sides renewed their focus on achieving the target of $15 billion worth of bilateral trade. It was agreed that China would support the National Bank of Pakistan to launch financial bonds worth 6.5 billion Renminbi in China.
Premier Ashraf also met with his Danish counterpart Helle Thorning-Schmidt who told him her country was working closely with the European Union (EU) to arrange an important Pak-EU summit for consolidating strategic relationship into their institutionalised long-term partnership.
Schmidt said the whole world was looking forward to the next general elections in Pakistan and added that the EU would send its observers to Pakistan in this regard. She said Denmark would help Pakistan in its efforts for a sustainable democracy.
Prime Minister Ashraf said that his government was committed to ensuring free and fair elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2012.