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Pakistani President Proposes Construction of Oil, Gas Pipeline to China


Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has urged China's leaders to consider participating in the construction of an oil pipeline from the Middle East to China.

Speaking with students Monday at Beijing's Tsinghua University, Mr. Musharraf suggested that a multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline that his country is pushing for could be expanded to include China.

Mr. Musharraf said he discussed the idea during his meetings in recent days with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. He has been visiting China since late last week and departs on Wednesday.

China's economy relies heavily on imported oil and the country is keen to diversify supply routes. Much of the oil and gas used by China is shipped through the Malacca Straits in Southeast Asia.

However, a pipeline from Pakistan to China would have to cross the soaring Khunjerab Pass, climbing some four-thousand meters.

Mr. Musharraf acknowledged the challenges, but said more than half of the pipeline's flow would be downhill.

Mr. Musharraf also said he supports the creation of rail and communication links between Pakistan and China along the Karakoram Highway, which connects the two countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.