China on Pak­istan visit to boost ties

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

IS­LAM­ABAD: Pak­istan, grap­pling with an Is­lamic in­sur­gency and mas­sive poverty, was hop­ing for an eco­nomic boost as Chi­nese premier Wen Ji­abao made a rare visit yes­ter­day aimed at ex­pand­ing trade ties and a flow of Chi­nese in­vest­ment.

Wen’s trip – the first by a Chi­nese premier in five years – is also an op­por­tu­nity for Is­lam­abad to show­case its re­la­tion­ship with an ally it sees as of­fer­ing con­sis­tent, no-strings-at­tached sup­port.

Pak­istan’s top civil­ian and mil­i­tary lead­ers, and nearly its full cabi­net, were on hand to greet Wen and his hun­dreds-strong del­e­ga­tion on ar­rival.

Wen is ex­pected to meet Prime Min­is­ter Yousaf Raza Gi­lani and sign busi­ness deals worth bil­lions of dol­lars dur­ing his stay.

As much as Wen’s visit will be about in­vest­ment and bi­lat­eral trade, it will also be used to reaf­firm the coun­tries’ so-called “all-weather” friend­ship that has en­dured and even flour­ished de­spite Bei­jing’s im­proved ties with New Delhi.

China is Pak­istan’s clos­est friend in the re­gion, giv­ing Is­lam­abad mil­i­tary aid and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance, in­clud­ing nu­clear technology. – Sapa-AP

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