Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf Wednesday spoke highly of the Sino-Pak relations, saying that the relations between the two countries are always excellent, strategic and permanent.
Musharraf made the remarks during an interview in Rawalpindi, twin city of Islamabad, with Chinese journalists located in Pakistan.
"The people of Pakistan love the people of China. So the relations don't change with political changes and they don't change with time," said Musharraf, adding that the friendship between the two countries is "deeper than the ocean and higher than the mountains."
Talking about his coming visit to China in early November, Musharraf said he needs to establish contacts with Chinese new leaders for better mutual understanding and to expand the economic, commercial and trade ties between the two countries.
The two countries, Musharraf said, should find ways to benefit each other and explore more areas for economic cooperation.
He mentioned the trade imbalance in favor of China and said the two countries can do something to address this issue.
Musharraf also encouraged Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan, saying his country has a good environment for foreign investment.
When asked about the confidence measures that India announced last week to normalize its relations with Pakistan, Musharraf said those proposals are not strong and have been diluted since they are not dealing with the Kashmir issue, which Islamabad calls a core issue of all its outstanding disputes with India.
He suggested that New Delhi and Islamabad should take a three-step procedure to solve the Kashmir dispute and urged the international community to facilitate the peace process in the sub-continent.
The procedure, said Musharraf, should include dialogue between India and Pakistan, India's acceptance of Kashmir as disputed and a solution to the Kashmir dispute acceptable to India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris.
(Xinhua News Agency October 30, 2003)