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Sound Pakistan-China Ties Hailed
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The 'all-weather relations' between China and Pakistan were strengthened on Saturday as Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz vowed to expand and deepen bilateral cooperation in all aspects.


"China-Pakistan diplomacy covers the economy, defense, security, education, social and culture sectors," Aziz said. "We have this multifaceted relationship, which is based on the premise of mutual advantages and a sense of sharing."


He made the comments during a meeting with a visiting Chinese media delegation at PM House in Islamabad.


Since Pakistan became independent in 1947, China has always been a great strategic friend of Pakistan.


He defined the term as somebody whom you discussed main issues with and whom you shared an opinion with. "This long-term strategic relationship has been driven by shared objectives, shared values and a desire for peace and prosperity," the prime minister said.


He said that there were several thousands of Chinese working in Pakistan on many projects, which includes the building of Gwadar Deep Sea Port and raising Mangla Dam.


Aziz also called for more energy cooperation, suggesting that China considers building direct pipelines from the coast in Karachi or Gwadar to western China, rather than going through the Straits of Malacca.


The shorter route will ensure a stable and fast supply of oil and gas to China's growing economy, he added.


As for the reform of the UN Security Council, Aziz said that Pakistan is against the expansion of permanent members in the council.


"The big five should be maintained. What is really needed in the UN are quality and an equal voice. If you have more permanent members, you create another class, which we are against," said Aziz, adding that rotating members would be a better way to improve the system.


He also stressed that diplomacy is the only option to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, saying that Iran should not build nuclear weapons, but should have the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.


"Diplomacy, diplomacy and diplomacy is the only way. Any military action will cause a severe backlash to the whole world. Any sanctions could result in oil reaching US$100 a barrel. That would be devastating to the global economy," he said.


On the nuclear deal signed between India and the US during George W. Bush's recent visit to New Delhi, he said the deal violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Pakistan was strongly against it.


(China Daily March 13, 2006)


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