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Li: China, Pakistan to be good brothers forever

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-05-23 02:20

ISLAMABAD - China and Pakistan will always be good partners and brothers that are reliable and sincere to each other, visiting Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday.

The two neighboring countries "are all-weather friends," Li said during a meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari shortly after he landed Islamabad before noon.

The bilateral friendship boasts a solid foundation and enjoys great prospects, said Li, noting that he fully felt the Pakistani people's deep friendship toward the Chinese people from the warm and grand welcome he received upon his arrival.

Good-neighborliness between China and Pakistan is a blessing not only for the two countries but also for Asia and the world at large, and the bilateral friendship is worth cherishing and carrying on from generation to generation, he added.

Li said the inclusion of Pakistan in his first overseas trip as premier is aimed at working with Pakistan to open a new chapter in their bilateral ties, chart a new course for practical cooperation and thus lift their traditional friendship to a new height.

China, he added, is committed to advancing the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership, and willing to be reliable partners and sincere brothers with Pakistan forever.

Noting that Zardari has paid nine visits to China during his presidency, Li said China highly appreciates his great contribution to the development of bilateral ties.

Zardari, for his part, said the itinerary of Li's first foreign trip as premier testifies to the great importance the Chinese government and people as well as Li himself attach to the bilateral relationship.

Maintaining the friendship with China is a consensus among all Pakistani political parties, he said, adding that his country is willing to work with China to further deepen their strategic cooperative partnership.

Interim Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso and Nawaz Sharif, who is expected to become prime minister for the third time, attended the meeting.

After the meeting, Zardari held a grand ceremony to confer on the Chinese premier the Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest award given by the Pakistani government.

The award, Li said, not only represents a personal honor, but also embodies the special friendly feelings the Pakistani people have toward the Chinese people.

The Chinese premier also attended a grand welcoming luncheon hosted by Zardari, which gathered more than 400 people from Pakistan's government, parliament, political parties and armed forces.

Li flew in from India. Six fighter jets of the Pakistani air force escorted Li's plane after it entered the country's airspace.

Li's four-nation trip will also take him to Switzerland and Germany.

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