Premier Wen Jiabao arrived at the Chaklala Air Base of Pakistan Tuesday afternoon to start his three-day official visit to Pakistan at the invitation of Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. Wen will also attend the opening ceremony of the Fourth Foreign Ministers' Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue to be held in Islamabad on April 6.
Pakistan is the first leg of Wen's South Asia tour. Besides Pakistan, he will also visit Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India.
In a written speech issued upon his arrival, Wen said that he had brought with him profound sentiment of the Chinese people towards the Pakistani people.
"I would like to take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, my highest respect for and best regards to the brotherly government and people of Pakistan," he said.
Wen said China and Pakistan are close and friendly neighbors, and that over a long period of time, thanks to the joint efforts of the two governments and peoples, China-Pakistan relations of good-neighborly friendship and cooperation have withstood the test of time and history, and that the two countries have established an all-weather friendship and conducted all-round cooperation.
"History has proved that China-Pakistan friendship is not only in conformity with the common aspiration and fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, but also conducive to peace, stability and development in the region," he said.
During Wen's stay in Pakistan, he is expected to have an in-depth exchange of views with President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and other leaders on furthering cooperation in the political, economic, cultural, educational, scientific, technological and other fields, and consolidating China-Pakistan friendly relations and deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
This is Wen's first visit to South Asia as premier, and a major move of the Chinese government to strengthen partnership and friendship with its neighbors.
(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2005)