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Pakistan, China to step up energy, trade projects

Staff writer |
Beijing and Islamabad will strengthen energy cooperation and speed up development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, said Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain ahead of an upcoming visit to China.

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In an interview with Chinese media, Mr. Hussain said he hoped to reach an agreement with the Chinese leadership on accelerating energy-related projects to overcome power shortages in his country. "The people of Pakistan will be grateful to the Chinese people and government for their help in the energy sector."

Mr. Hussain also urged further implementation of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, a project that Premier Li Keqiang proposed to boost bilateral economic cooperation during his visit to Islamabad in May. "The project is going to be a monument of the century. It will benefit not only Pakistan and China, but also the whole region with billions of people."

Mr. Hussain is coming a three-day state visit to China at the invitation of President Xi Jinping. It marks Hussain's first overseas official visit since assuming office in September. He will also be the first foreign head of state to visit China after Spring Festival.

President Xi will hold talks with Hussain after a welcoming ceremony. Premier Li and Chairman Zhang Dejiang of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress will hold separate talks with the visiting president.

The two sides will also issue a joint statement, according to the Foreign Ministry Stating that the development of China-Pakistan relations was "at the top of China's diplomatic agenda", ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that Beijing is satisfied with the state of China-Pakistan relations, and she expressed full confidence in the prospect of friendly cooperation between the two countries. "Chinese netizens refer to Pakistan as Iron Pak, a term testifying to the strength of China-Pakistan friendship."

Experts said that the corridor project, spearheaded by cooperation on energy, will connect China with Pakistan, increasing links also with Central Asia and East Europe, and benefit as many as 3 billion people.

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