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Chinese President Visits Pakistan

By Mahvish Akhtar

The Pakistani and Chinese presidents signed 18 agreements upon the Chinese president’s arrival on Friday, November 24th 2006. This included a free trade agreement that would triple mutual trade: making it $15 billion within 5 years. This would be a positive agreement for both countries. A key agreement was signed to develop aircraft equipped with long-range early warning radars. Both presidents had one-on-one talks and later signed the agreements in front of their entourage.

“This serves the fundamental interests of our two peoples and is also conducive to the peace and development of our region,” Mr Hu told a joint news conference in which General Musharraf was present as well. President Musharraf added that the “evergreen relationship of Pakistan and China will remain for all time.”

Also–agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) signed between Pakistan and China are exchanges of note–verbally authorizing: the establishment of a consulate-general of Pakistan in Chengdu, executive program of the cultural agreement; an accord on economic and technical cooperation for establishment of a China-Pakistan joint investment company; authorizing the construction of a China-Pakistan friendship center in Islamabad; a framework agreement on security of financing for China-Pakistan bilateral cooperation; exchange of letters for construction of schools and hospitals in the earthquake-hit areas of Pakistan; financial support for the upgrading and rehabilitation of Karakoram Highway; completion certificate of the Gwadar port, phase-I; contract agreement on a Karakoram Highway improvement project; a framework agreement between China’s Northern Industries Corporation and Heavy Engineering Complex Taxila; Huawei-TML-GSM phase-5 expansion project agreement, MoU between China-Zhenhua oil company and Pakistan’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources; exploration and development of Saindak East Ore Body in Pakistan, agreement for collaboration in President’s Rozgar Scheme; and PVC Back Integrated Complex of Engro-Asahi Polymer and Chemical Limited of Pakistan.

The Chinese president added that China would aid Pakistan in its nuclear programs. He also said that the Chashma-I nuclear power plant was developed “in very close cooperation and in the future we will continue to carry out such cooperation.”

The Pakistan air force (PAF) has also signed an agreement with a Chinese company which will help them in developing aircraft equipped with long-range early warning radar.

On a side note, the PAF is already collaborating with another Chinese aviation company for the co-development and co-production of JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft. During 2007, eight of these are expected to be delivered to Pakistan.

President Hu said that China would invite 500 Pakistani students to visit China in the next 5 years.

Answering questions, President Hu said he hopes for peace in the subcontinent. He also says China is committed to help in providing help on the peace issue, adding that “Since we are neighbors of all South Asian countries, we sincerely hope to maintain peace and stability in the region.” However, he emphasized that “there is [a] need to focus on conflict resolution and Kashmir happens to be the core issue.”

Mr. Hu Jintao said that a strong Pakistan means a strong China, so his government would work hard in making Pakistan economically strong. To do this he said that Chinese investors were lined up to set up their trade in Pakistan, especially in the Punjab region.

In a talk held Friday evening, the Chinese President praised the progress Pakistan has made since its independence. He said he brought well wishes from all the people of China for the people of Pakistan. “As a true friend of Pakistan, China hopes that Pakistan will play a greater role in regional and international affairs and (China) will strengthen coordination and cooperation with Pakistan in the Asian Regional Forum, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Asian Cooperation Dialogue, Asia Europe Meeting and other regional organization,” President Hu said.

He expressed his gratitude to Pakistan for standing by China in its difficult times. He ended his speech with these words, “Let us work unremittingly to strengthen the China-Pakistan strategic partnership and build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity. May China and Pakistan enjoy eternal friendship.”

The Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf returned the well wishes of the Chinese President by giving him the Nishan-i-Pakistan award, which is the highest civilian award of the county.


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