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China to Help Pakistan Build 2 Power Plants

Pakistan's foreign minister says China has agreed to help Islamabad build two additional nuclear power plants to help combat an energy crisis in the south Asian nation.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a news conference in Islamabad Saturday that the deal is part of a nuclear cooperation agreement recently signed between the two countries. He said Pakistan will benefit from an extra 680 megawatts of electricity following the completion of the new power plants.

Qureshi said Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari agreed to the terms of the deal during a four-day visit to Beijing this week.

Mr. Zardari and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao signed more than 10 deals on cooperation in areas of economy, trade, mining and agriculture.

Pakistan already has one Chinese-built nuclear power station, and another plant is under construction.

Mr. Zardari traveled to China in part to seek economic agreements and assistance in an effort to save Pakistan from economic collapse.

China has promised to do all it can to help its longtime ally overcome its financial difficulties.

A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, Qin Gang, told reporters Thursday that China is ready to support Pakistan "within its capability." He did not specify what kind of assistance Beijing would provide.