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Pakistan Hopes to Boost Ties With China

Pakistan expects significant economic gains and deeper political understanding with China from Premier Zhu Rongji's landmark visit starting Friday to mark the golden jubilee of their diplomatic relations, officials said.

Zhu will hold talks with Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf on the first leg of his five-nation Asian trip, they said Wednesday.

"Discussions between the two sides will cover bilateral relations and cooperation in the political, economic, commercial and other fields," Foreign Office Spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan said.

"They will also have an exchange of views on regional and global issues of mutual interest," Khan said.

During Zhu's four-day visit, Pakistan expects to finalise several projects including a multi-million dollar Karachi to Multan oil pipeline and building of a modern seaport at Gawadar.

The two sides are also expected to explore ways of further enhancing trade and boosting cooperation in information technology, tourism and communications, they said.

A foreign ministry statement said the visit marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Over the past 50 years Pakistan and China have developed "a comprehensive partnership in all fields which is not only of benefit to the two countries but is also in the interest of peace and stability of South Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific region," it said.

Zhu's visit will provide an opportunity to the two sides to discuss "a strengthening of this partnership during the 21st century," it said.

China and Pakistan have close political contacts in addition to economic and military cooperation.

Zhu's visit comes after a flurry of contacts between the two countries since Musharraf seized power in a military coup in October 1999.

During Musharraf's visit to China, only three months after his coup, the two countries decided to strengthen their "strategic partnership."

Zhu will be accompanied by his wife Lao An, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Shi Guangsheng.

He will also visit the eastern city of Lahore to attend a civic reception at the historic Shalamar Gardens.

Zhu's Asian tour will also take him to Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

(Chinadaily.com.cn 05/09/2001)

China Welcomes Efforts by Pakistan and India to Improve Relations
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