China-Pak PMs discuss steps to firm up all weather ties
From K J M Varma
Beijing, Sept 11 (PTI) Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met his Pakistani counterpart Raja Pervez Ashraf today and discussed cooperation in fields of defence and infrastructure, and agreed to support Pakistan''s largest commercial bank to launch financial bonds worth USD one billion in China.
Wen met Ashraf on the sidelines of the Summer Davos Forum which was inaugurated in the northern city of Tianjin today and held wide ranging discussions.
The two discussed initiatives to firm up their close cooperation in defence, infrastructure development, energy, agriculture and banking.
It was agreed that China would support the National Bank of Pakistan to launch financial bonds worth 6.5 billion Renminbi (about one billion USD) in China, Pakistan''s state run-APP news agency reported.
"China and Pakistan''s traditional friendship, which is deeply rooted among the two peoples, is our most valuable treasure," Wen told Ashraf, according to Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency.
China firmly supports Pakistan on its efforts to safeguard its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, maintain national solidarity and stability, and strive for an environment featuring good relationship with neighbouring countries, he said.
China said it "completely supports Pakistan on all its regional and international issues", the APP report said.
Ashraf was on his maiden visit to China after he took over as Prime Minister recently.
The leaders discussed a whole gamut of issues ranging from bilateral ties, defence cooperation, infrastructure development, energy, agriculture and banking, the report said.
China''s concerns over the militants of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, (ETIM) active in Xijiang province, bordering Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, (POK) figured in the talks.
"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 APP report said.
There was no direct reference to China taking over the operations of Pakistan''s strategic deepwater port, Gwadar.
Ahead of Ashraf''s visit Pakistan''s Shipping Minister, Babar Ghouri said China may take over the port with an investment of USD 10 billion to take over the port operations from Singapore Port Authority, (SPA) which pulled out of the contract citing various problems.