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China, Pakistan sign 10-plus deals
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China and Pakistan on Wednesday signed more than 10 deals ranging from trade and minerals to agriculture and satellites.

The package of agreements came out of a two-hour summit at Beijing's Great Hall of the People as China rolled out the red carpet for Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, who is on his first state visit to the country since taking office in September.

Visiting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari (R) reviews the honour guard with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao during the welcoming ceremony held by Hu Jintao at the Tian'anmen Square, in Beijing, China, on Oct. 15, 2008. Asif Ali Zardari arrived here on Wednesday for his first state visit to China since taking office in September. [Xinhua Photo] 

Zardari was welcomed by President Hu Jintao and received a 21-gun military salute at the Tian'anmen Square, festooned with the national flags of China and Pakistan.

During the meeting, Hu reviewed the close bilateral ties, particularly the days of the Bhutto family.

"Your entire family are old friends of the Chinese people," Hu told Zardari. "We will never forget the outstanding contribution Benazir Bhutto and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had made to boosting ties with China."

Zardari's late wife, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated in December 2007, and her late father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had also served as Pakistan president.

While reviewing the 57-year-old diplomatic ties, Hu attributed its sound and smooth growth to the leadership of the two nations, among others.

He said China had always given priority to its relation with Pakistan, an important neighbor and strategic partner.

Zardari said he was grateful for "the warm welcome that you have shown us and the love and affection that I can feel from across the aisle."

"The only way I could do justice to the memory of my late wife and father-in-law was to make sure that I made my first presidential trip to China," the 53-year-old said.

"I am hoping to assist the Pakistan-China relationship and take it further along. It's a duty history has bestowed upon me."

On the economic front, Hu said the two countries were enjoying robust cooperation in economy and trade. They should continue to implement their free-trade pact, five-year trade program and other joint deals.

He also proposed the two nations create new areas and explore new ways of cooperation. "China and Pakistan should vigorously boost border trade so as to bring more substantive benefits to their citizens."

Zardari said the two should carry out big projects and work more closely in infrastructure, transport, environmental protection and finance, among others.

The two leaders agreed to step up people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in culture, education, health and journalism.

Hu thanked Pakistan for its support on issues concerning Taiwan and Tibet. He also appreciated Pakistani efforts in backing Beijing's hosting of the Olympic Games.

Zardari reaffirmed Pakistan's adherence to the one-China policy and support of China's peaceful reunification,

They also agreed on enhancing coordination and collaboration on international and regional issues, cooperating on addressing global challenges and ensuring peace, stability and development in the world.

As part of his four-day trip, Zardari is also scheduled to meet with other Chinese leaders, including top legislator Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and top advisor Jia Qinglin on Thursday.

(Xinhua News Agency October 16, 2008)

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