News / Asia

China's Premier Promises Deeper Ties with Pakistan

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (R) leave after a signing of agreements ceremony at the presidential palace in Islamabad on May 22, 2013.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (R) leave after a signing of agreements ceremony at the presidential palace in Islamabad on May 22, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang says his country is committed to consolidate its “traditional friendship” with Pakistan and strengthen strategic cooperation. The Chinese leader spoke Wednesday in Islamabad after a visit to India.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang landed in Islamabad under tight security and his plane was escorted by fighter jets as soon as it entered Pakistani air space.

Authorities suspended mobile phone networks across the capital city for several hours and deployed security forces at key locations to discourage any subversive acts. The unprecedented security arrangements follow a rise in violence blamed on Islamist militants.

  • A soldier walks near a bus as he helps to secure the area and clear the roads before the motorcade of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang passes by in Islamabad May 22, 2013.
  • People sit on top of a bus as they go past flags of Pakistan and China that are displayed along a road, ahead of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Islamabad.
  • A man walks next to huge portraits of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, right, and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, left, displayed near the presidency in Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • A police officer stands guard next to billboards welcoming Chinese premier Li Keqiang hung on poles near the presidency in Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • A soldier speaks to a man as he secures the area and clears the roads before the motorcade of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
  • A military helicopter flies overhead as police officers and soldiers secure the area before the motorcade of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang passes through Islamabad.

The Chinese leader later addressed a ceremony hosted by President Asif Ali Zardari at the presidential office where Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif and the country’s military leadership were also present.

Premier Li praised the decades old friendship between China and Pakistan as “an invaluable asset” and emphasized the need for further strengthening “strategic cooperation in all areas.” He added that the bilateral relationship “stands out as an excellent example” for ties between countries of different social systems.

“That I have come to Pakistan in my first overseas visit as a Chinese premier is intended to show the international community that China is committed to consolidating its traditional friendship with Pakistan and deepening the strategic cooperation between the two countries," said Li. "I am convinced that no matter how the international situation may evolve China and Pakistan should always remain each other’s trustworthy partner and reliable brother.”

Pakistan and China have developed closer ties in recent years at a time of strained diplomatic relations between Islamabad and the United States. U.S. officials often question Pakistan’s commitment to fighting Islamic militancy on its soil, blaming these extremists for fueling the Taliban insurgency across the border in Afghanistan.

Premier Li is visiting Islamabad nearly two weeks after Pakistan held its national elections. Mr. Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League scored a resounding victory in the polls and he is due to become Prime Minister for a third time.

Senator Mushahid Hussain, who chairs the Defense Committee of the upper house of the Pakistani parliament, told VOA change in the leadership in Pakistan has never come in the way of relations with China.

“China is one issue on which there is a complete national consensus in Pakistan irrespective of the parties whether it is liberal, left-wing, right-wing or clerical parties, they all agree that the relationship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy," he said. 'So, I expect that Pakistan-China relations under Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s government would be as strong as robust as they were in the previous regimes.”

China is Pakistan’s biggest arms supplier and provides it with financial assistance as well as much needed foreign investment. More than 120 Chinese companies are doing business in Pakistan and some 14,000 Chinese workers as well as engineers are working on different projects in the country. Bilateral annual trade rose to $12 billion in 2012 and both sides aim to take it to $15 billion within next three years. Beijing has also helped Islamabad establish three nuclear power plants while a fourth one is in the pipeline.

Participants attend the opening ceremony of the Gwadar deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea, west of Karachi, March 20, 2007Participants attend the opening ceremony of the Gwadar deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea, west of Karachi, March 20, 2007
x
Participants attend the opening ceremony of the Gwadar deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea, west of Karachi, March 20, 2007
Participants attend the opening ceremony of the Gwadar deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea, west of Karachi, March 20, 2007
Earlier this year, China took control of Pakistan’s under construction deep-water Gwadar seaport that analysts say could serve as a vital economic hub for Beijing and a potential Arabian Sea naval base.

During Premier Li’s stay in Pakistan, the two countries are expected to sign agreements related to energy, technology and space.

Pakistani officials dismiss suggestions that a low-intensity rebellion led by Uighur militants in China’s far western Xinjiang region, which also borders Pakistan, has strained bilateral ties. Islamabad insists it is closely cooperating with Beijing to crush the insurgency and has killed or handed over several fugitive militants to Chinese authorities who had taken refuge in Pakistani border areas.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: dixon from: Shanghai China
May 22, 2013 6:41 AM
India seems always look China as rival, Chinese should make effort to eliminate the misunderstand, the two countries should be friends, we have enough space to develope our economy.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs