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55 Years of Sino-Pakistani Diplomatic Ties
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China and Pakistan celebrated the 55th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic ties with a reception in Beijing on Tuesday.

Addressing the reception, visiting Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf said that Pakistan commits itself to the all-round development of its partnership with China.

He said Pakistan and China, as close neighbors, enjoy a friendship "deeper than the ocean and higher than the mountains".

The two countries have increased their cooperation in the past 55 years, he said, noting that the Pakistani people, as sincere friends of China, are pleased with and encouraged by the remarkable achievements that China has made its modernization drive.

Musharraf said Pakistan is ready to enhance exchange and cooperation with China in various spheres and at various levels, thereby raising the traditional friendship between the two countries to new heights.

Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan said that China-Pakistan relations have stood the test of time and volatile international situations, due to the unswerving efforts of the two governments and the two peoples.

Sino-Pakistani relations have set a good example for countries with different social systems to get along with each other in friendly relations, Tang noted.

The reception, jointly hosted by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and the Pakistani embassy in China, was attended by more than 400 people.

Also on Tuesday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for the consolidation and development of China's strategic and cooperative partnership with Pakistan in a meeting with Musharraf.

He said China and Pakistan share an all-weather friendship, pledging that China will continue to cement the cooperation based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in order to help maintain regional peace and stability.

As neighbors, China and Pakistan can gain mutual benefit from expansive trade opportunities, Wen said, advising the two governments to strengthen macro planning and readjust their trade structures to complement each other.

Companies from the two countries should strengthen cooperation in ways that better serve a market-oriented economy, Wen said.

"The Chinese government encourages Chinese businesses to invest and participate in Pakistan's economic construction and China hopes that Pakistan will take effective measures to safeguard the life of Chinese people in Pakistan", Wen stressed.

Musharraf said Pakistan and China have forged a close relationship and the two countries support each other on many significant international issues, expressing his appreciation for China's timely disaster-relief and reconstruction efforts to Pakistan after the severe earthquake last year.

Musharraf said his country is willing to make joint efforts with China to promote the bilateral trade cooperation by pushing forward negotiations on the free trade zone.

Pakistan also hopes to pass the friendship from generation to generation through expansion of cooperation in such fields as public health and education, Musharraf added.

China and Pakistan on Monday signed a series of agreements on trade, energy, agriculture and defense. The two countries will also step up collaboration in vocational training, fisheries, seismic studies, meteorological sciences and family planning.

(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2006)

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