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China-Pakistan Strategic Partnership Taken to New Heights
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China is currently hosting Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and this trip has been an opportunity for both countries to sign 13 agreements laying out future cooperation in fields as wide-ranging as aeronautics, telecommunications, education and legal assistance.


The agreements were signed on Tuesday after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with Aziz for talks which led to four points of consensus according to Chinese Foreign Ministry sources.


The agreements tackled some of the piquant points of bilateral relations such as moving rapidly forward with the China-Pakistan free trade agreement, finalizing a five-year plan for economic and trade cooperation, ramping up discussions on service trade cooperation and further encouraging mutual investment by both business communities.


The long-standing friendship will further expand with new cultural and humanitarian fields, while taking serious steps to halt actions by "East Turkistan" separatist elements and all forms of cross-border crime.


The sources added that close coordination between two powers in the region would help secure stability and foster development in South Asia.


Wen praised China's relations with Pakistan, calling the country "a good and highly reliable friend", "a strong cooperative partner" and "a close brother sharing weal and woe". He further extended his congratulations on the 60th anniversary of Pakistan's independence.


Wen said the Chinese government would continually maintain existing policies in the interests of traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation with Pakistan, and stands ready to take the strategic partnership "to a new level".


Aziz responded in kind, saying that the Pakistan-China friendship was a source for pride for Pakistani people. Ties between the two countries had stood the test of time and were brought consistently closer through frequent high-level exchanges, he outlined.


At Wen's invitation, Aziz arrived in Beijing on Monday, kicking off an official visit to China from April 16 to 20. After wrapping up his Beijing trip, Aziz will travel to Chengdu, Sichuan Province, to inaugurate Pakistan's new consulate-general there. Following this, he will attend the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Hainan Province from April 20 to 21.


(Xinhua News Agency April 18, 2007)

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