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Pakistan, China Call for End to US-led War on Iraq - 2003-03-25

Pakistan's prime minister, on a state visit to Beijing, has signed several agreements to boost cooperation with China. Chinese leaders also have used the occasion to call for an end to the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

China has agreed to help Pakistan develop peaceful uses of nuclear power and will provide aid for Pakistan's railway system. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan made the announcement Tuesday, during the first day of Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Kahn Jamali's visit.

Mr. Kong said that Mr. Jamali and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao signed agreements to boost economic cooperation.

The spokesman said Mr. Jamali and Mr. Wen also agreed to increase their cooperation against terrorism.

Pakistani media report that Chinese aid will help set up another nuclear power plant in the Pakistani town of Chashma, south of the capital Islamabad.

Beijing has had a close relationship with Islamabad dating back to China's border war with India in 1962. China has given economic aid over the decades, as well as helping Pakistan develop missiles and nuclear weapons.

Mr. Jamali is the first foreign leader Mr. Wen has played host to since he became China's prime minister earlier this month.

The Pakistani prime minister also met with China's new defense minister, Cao Gangchuan, Tuesday morning. Before the meeting, Mr. Jamali told reporters that Pakistan's military relationship with China was "excellent" and would continue to be so.

Mr. Jamali earlier canceled a scheduled trip to the United States, Britain and France because of what he called "the sentiments of the people" over the war in Iraq.

Pakistan's government is a staunch supporter of Washington's war on terrorism, but it has denounced the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. At the same time, Pakistan has called on Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to disarm.

China also opposes the war in Iraq.

The Chinese spokesman said that in his meeting with Mr. Jamali, Prime Minister Wen called for an end to the war on Iraq to reduce the humanitarian damage. He said Mr. Wen appealed for a political solution to the Iraq issue, within the United Nations framework.

Mr. Kong added that the Chinese government will give refugee aid to Jordan, and will help in the relocation of Iraqi refugees displaced by the war.