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Pakistan PM to Ink Dozens of Deals
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Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, who arrived in Beijing yesterday, is expected to sign more than 20 agreements and memorandums of understanding in the technology, education, banking, infrastructure and investment sectors during his six-day stay.


Aziz is on his second visit to China in three years at the invitation of Primer Wen Jiabao. He will visit Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province, and Haikou, capital of South China's Hainan Province, during his stay. In Haikou, he will attend the annual Bo'ao Forum for Asia on Saturday.


Describing Sino-Pakistani relationship as "deeper than the deepest ocean, higher than the highest mountain," Aziz said Pakistan is very proud of its relationship with China. The two countries' ties are "based on principle, shared values and the desire to work together for peace and prosperity."


Fu Xiaoqiang, assistant researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said: "The two countries' ties are built on understanding and support for each other on many international issues for more than half a century."


Some of the diplomatic activities have proved to be the turning points in the development of both the countries. Pakistan played a key role in helping China regain the UN membership, and get a permanent seat in the Security Council in the 1970s. China, on its part, has always been a close friend of Pakistan, especially during periods when some countries shunned it because of the volatile politics of South Asia, Fu said.


Talking about the consolidated bilateral economic cooperation, Aziz cited the example of the economic zone dedicated to Chinese investors, on which an agreement was signed during President Hu Jintao's visit to Pakistan in November. The bilateral trade volume last year was about US$5.1 billion.


"It is not a small amount, but compared to the close ties between the two countries, it's nothing," Fu said.


Aziz hopes Chinese investors would use Pakistan as a hub for exporting goods to the rest of the world and to meet the domestic demand of the country, which has a 160-million-strong population.


China's economic transformation in past two decades has created history, something that the world says is an "impressive, creative and positive" development for other countries to follow, Aziz said.


"Through excellent leadership, determination and hard work of its people, China has transformed itself into the world's fastest growing economy and has been expanding its influence around the world," he said.


As both the economies have been performing strongly -- Pakistan's GDP growth was 6.5 percent and China's 10.7 percent last year they will find more common grounds in the economic field to further strengthen their ties and strategic cooperation, Fu said.


"With many agreements and MoUs inked and many more waiting to be inked, the next step is to implement them." Their implementation depends on the coordination of government bodies and enterprises of both the countries.


"A path is already there. What we need to do is just follow it," Fu said, referring to the trust between the two countries paving the way for business cooperation.


(China Daily April 17, 2007)

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