Several agreements expected as Zardari heads to China
* President pledges more bilateral co-operation in energy, finance and fight against terror
* FMs meet ahead of Zardari’s visit
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China are expected to sign several agreements and memorandums of understanding as President Asif Ali Zardari begins his first visit to the long-time ally today.
The foreign, defence, finance and environment ministers and the Planning Commission deputy chairman will accompany Zardari during his first visit to Beijing as president from October 14 to 17.
The president will meet the top Chinese leadership, including President Hu Jintao, National People’s Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Chairman Jia Qinglin.
Zardari will also interact with the heads of Chinese financial institutions and corporate sector as well as the media.
Co-operation: In an interview with China’s Xinhua news agency, Zardari vowed to increase co-operation in energy, finance and agriculture sectors.
“We have a lot of cultural ties, friendly ties, but that is not properly depicted by our economic relationship,” he said.
Zardari even promised to visit China ‘every three months’, to ‘know more about the conditions of its provinces’ and seek potential co-operation.
In response to a question on terrorism, Zardari said Pakistan and China would develop close co-operation in this regard. “We need commonality to fight terrorism,” he said.
Foreign ministers: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi met in Beijing on Monday, setting the tone for the upcoming talks between Zardari and Hu Jintao.
Qureshi told reporters later that he had discussed defence and economic relations with the Chinese foreign minister. Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khan and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Luo Zhaohui were also present.
“The president will try to get economic investment co-operation from China and at the same time will send a signal that in addition to the West, Pakistan has friends in other parts of the world as well,” political and security analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi told Reuters.
Askari said Pakistan might seek Chinese co-operation in nuclear power generation to meet its acute energy shortages. agencies