China has appealed for an early ceasefire in Iraq to lessen the suffering of the Iraqi people, keep the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity intact, and bring the issue back to the United Nations.
Premier Wen Jiabao made the remarks Monday when meeting Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali.
Jamali arrived in Beijing Monday afternoon for a three-day official visit to China. This is the first visit to China by the head of the new Pakistani Government.
Wen said China is deeply concerned with the current situation in Iraq and has consistently worked towards a political solution of the issue.
Turning to South Asia, Wen said China welcomes the gradual relaxation of tension in this area and hopes to see a peaceful, stable and prosperous South Asia.
Wen told his Pakistani counterpart that the new Chinese leadership is willing to work with Pakistan to push bilateral relations forward.
"It is an established policy of the Chinese Government to develop all-round cooperative relations with Pakistan,'' he said.
Wen said the two countries have maintained an "all-weather'' friendship in the 52 years since they established bilateral ties in May 1951.
The friendship has been based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, mutual trust and respect, close contact between leaders, steady progress of bilateral cooperation, and mutual understanding and support in handling international affairs.
Jamali said he was pleased to become the first head of government to be received by the new Chinese leaders.
The Pakistani Government greatly appreciates the constructive role that China has played in regional and international affairs, he said.
Jamali pledged that Pakistan will pursue a one-China policy as it has always done.
Pakistan expects to further expand economic and trade cooperation with China to advance bilateral relations in a more comprehensive way, he added.
Wen and Jamali Monday saw four Sino-Pakistani Memorandums of Understanding signed off, including one on economic and technical cooperation.
The two leaders also agreed to officially launch the China-Pakistan Friendship Forum to enhance bilateral cooperation in political, economic, journalistic, academic and cultural fields.
The forum is expected to alternate between Beijing and Islamabad. The first forum will be held in the latter part of this year in Islamabad.
(China Daily March 25, 2003)