Pakistan, China to ink 20 accords as Wen reaches Islamabad
Pakistan and China will sign about 20 agreements and Memorandums of Understandings (MOUs) for cooperation in fields of economy, energy and communication, as Pakistan on Friday accorded a warm welcome to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao when he reached Islamabad for a three-day official visit to the neighbouring country.
ISLAMABAD: A warm welcome was accorded to Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao as he arrived here Friday on a three-day official visit aimed at further expanding Sino-Pak economic and trade ties.
A red carpet was rolled out for the Chinese Premier as he alighted from the special Air China aircraft. The white Boeing 747 with blue stripes was escorted by two Sino-Pak joint production JF-17 Thunder and Mirage aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force as it entered Pakistan’s airspace.Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani warmly received the Chinese Premier at the Chaklala Air Base as a 21 gun salute boomed. A young boy wearing black sherwani and blue turban and a young girl in traditional red dress presented him bouquets.
Three JF-17 aircraft flew past the dais, in a tribute to the great friend of Pakistan. The airport building was adorned with huge red and green flags of the two countries and large flower bouquets were arranged near the dais.
The Chinese leader warmly shook hands with Pakistani cabinet members and the services chiefs, who were present to greet him.
A smart contingent of the three services presented salute to the Chinese Premier. He inspected the guard of honour and national anthems of the two countries were played.
A large number of Chinese nationals in Pakistan waved Chinese and Pakistani flags and waved hands as Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Gilani walked past them.
In brief remarks Prime Minister Gilani said the Pakistan-China relations were “unprecedented” and the whole Pakistani nation stood as one to further deepen and broaden ties with the brotherly nation of China.
Wen Jiabao will hold talks with Prime Minister Gilani at the Prime Minister House later in the day.
It will be followed by delegation level talks between the two sides, covering multifaceted areas to broaden their strategic partnership.
The Chinese Prime Minister is leading a large delegation which includes chief executives of companies and 250 leading businessmen.
The business leaders will attend a business summit to exchange views and firm up proposals for joint ventures in various fields.
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will hold formal talks today, covering wide ranging topics of bilateral interest to expand decades’ old ever-green relationship, with greater focus on their growing economic partnership. The talks at Prime Minister House will be followed by signing of about 20 agreements and Memorandums of Understandings (MOUs) in areas of economy, energy and communication.
The Chinese Prime Minister will arrive here on December 17 on a three day official visit on the invitation of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.
China’s ambassador to Pakistan Liu Jian told APP that China’s Premier and Pakistani leadership will hold wide ranging discussions to draw a five year blueprint to expand their economic and trade relations.
This will be the second visit of the Chinese Prime Minister to Pakistan during which he will hold talks with the Pakistani leadership on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Wen Jiabao will be leading a large business delegation. The delegation comprising more than 250 business leaders will attend a business summit.
MOUs will be signed for promotion of investment, expansion of cooperation in railways, setting up of solar, wind and energy projects and reciprocal establishment of cultural centres.
Two sides are also expected to finalise agreement for a concessional loan to Pakistan for procurement and installation of Non-Intrusive Vehicle X-Ray Inspection System (NVIS).
Other agreements will include funding of a Safe City project in Islamabad and an MOU for mutual broadcasting of radio programmes.
According to Pakistan’s ambassador to China Masood Khan both countries will form an energy working group to enhance cooperation in oil, gas, coal and conventional power sectors. A maritime cooperation agreement will also be signed.
Another agreement will be on Chinese assistance for reconstruction in flood hit areas of Pakistan.
An agreement is also on the cards for Chinese participation in exploration and production of power from the Thar coal reserves.
Various Chinese companies have expressed interest in generating electricity from Thar’s coal reserves.
The cooperation of Pakistan and China goes as far back as 1960s and China immensely helped Pakistan to complete mega projects like Karakoram Highway, Gwadar port, Heavy Mechanical Complex, Heavy Electrical Complex and Chashma nuclear reactor besides dams, hydro electric projects and financial and technical assistance in areas of agriculture, irrigation and mining.
In the last 20 years, the countries are involved in the joint venture of several projects to enhance military and weaponry systems, which includes JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, K-8 Karakoram advance training aircraft, space technology, AWACS, Al-Khalid tank and light frigates.
Up to 20 billion dollars worth of projects with Chinese help have been completed in Pakistan. Work on projects of 14 billion dollars is continuing at present while projects of another 20 billion dollars will be signed between the two sides during the visit.
At present Pakistan is China’s second largest trading partner in South Asia and China is Pakistan’s third largest trading partner, third largest import source and fifth largest export market.
Pakistan and China will celebrate 60 years of their diplomatic relations next year.
Chinese ambassador Liu Jian said China desires to build up on the “time tested and all weather” friendship between the two neighbours.
Not only governments of two countries have a growing strategic partnership but their people are also coming closer with exchange of youth visits and scholarships for each others students, he remarked.
The Chinese Prime Minister will address the joint session of parliament on Dec 19 besides interacting with Pakistani media and people from various walks of life.