Pakistani FM calls for 'more robust' anti-terror relations

Updated: 2011-08-25 07:40

By Li Lianxing and Qin Zhongwei (China Daily)

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Pakistani FM calls for 'more robust' anti-terror relations

BEIJING - China and Pakistan will seek "more robust" ties on counter-terrorism through existing cooperation and mechanisms, the visiting Pakistani foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Hina Rabbani Khar, the youngest and first female foreign minister of Pakistan, said during her first official visit to China that both countries share common interests in building a better relationship to combat terrorism. "Terrorism is against the national interests of the two countries and also against the common goals of economic development and integration," she said.

Upon her arrival in Beijing on Tuesday, Khar said China and Pakistan enjoy a unique relationship.

"We have a natural convergence of interests, which could be reflected not only in a bilateral relationship but also in other multilateral forums," she told China Daily in an exclusive interview. "When a new challenge emerges, it only brings China and Pakistan closer."

Khar said China is one of the countries that Pakistan has signed a free trade agreement with. Further economic cooperation also could be achieved through regional economic integration, she said.

With Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari scheduled to visit northeastern China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region at the end of this month, the 34-year-old foreign minister sees "huge potential" in Pakistan forming closer ties with the region, which will bring the people of the two countries closer, achieve economic integration and enhance the living standards of both countries.

"This will be very robust. Economic activities will be greatly enhanced between the two regions," she said, noting that efforts are being made to create a common economic zone.

Khar said there are pros and cons to being the youngest foreign minister in Pakistan's history, but she said her seven years of experience in the federal government dealing with economic cooperation make her prepared for the job.

Khar said her ability to develop a peaceful foreign policy that fits Pakistan is a more important issue than her age and gender.

Since moving into the office, Khar has been committed to establishing a stable and peaceful relationship with Pakistan's neighbors.

She said the difficulties in the relationship between Pakistan and India should not be simply passed to the next generation. Besides the unresolved core issues, mutual trust must be built by looking at other topics, she added.

Khar also reiterated the significance of sovereignty when cooperating with the US.

She said two sides have strategic interests in combating terrorism in the region, but "any policy related to Pakistan should take the grand reality of this country into consideration".

On Wednesday, Khar met Premier Wen Jiabao and her counterpart Yang Jiechi.

Yang said this year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Pakistan as well as the Year of China-Pakistan Friendship, which generates new opportunities for bilateral relations.

China is willing to take the opportunities to work with Pakistan in elevating the two countries' strategic and cooperative partnership, he added.

China Daily

(China Daily 08/25/2011 page11)