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China, Pakistan sign cooperation treaty
By Zhao Huanxin (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2005-04-06 09:24

ISLAMABAD -- China and Pakistan signed on Tuesday night a treaty for friendly and neighbourly co-operation, pledging to upgrade their strategic partnership to an even higher level.

The pact, which came after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's talks with his counterpart Shaukat Aziz Tuesday night, encapsulated the successful experience of bilateral relations in more than half a century, and charted the course for future development.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz (R) exchanges document after signing an agreement with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, after talks at the prime minister's house in Islamabad April 5, 2005. Chinese Premier Wen began a tour of South Asia in Pakistan on Tuesday, reinforcing a strategic alliance between the old friends and signing a range of agreements on economic and trade cooperation. [Reuters]
In addition to the treaty, the two countries also inked a dozen of other accords, including those on fighting terrorism, extremism and separatism, and on early harvest programme of a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.

Wen said it is a common task for China and Pakistan to further consolidate and promote their relations. The two countries should work to ensure a long-term
and steady growth of their ties, and develop a closer strategic partnership in line with the stipulations of the treaty, he said.

Aziz echoed by saying relations with China constitute a "foodstone" for his country's foreign policy, adding relationship with China has entered a dynamic new phase.

He spoke highly of the friendly treaty, saying it will shed profound light on bilateral relations in future.

He suggested both sides to work together in energy, transportation, culture and tourism sectors.

Wen told Aziz China and Pakistan are good neighbours, friends and partners, and Sino-Pak friendship has withstood test of times and international vicissitudes.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) and Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz listen to a question during a news conference in Islamabad April 5, 2005. Chinese Premier Wen began a tour of South Asia in Pakistan on Tuesday, reinforcing a strategic alliance between the old friends and signing a range of agreements on economic and trade cooperation. [Reuters]
The "all-weather" friendship and all-faceted co-operation is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples as well as the peace, stability and development in the region, he said in a written speech delivered to the media.

Warm welcome

The premier flew from late spring in Beijing to early summer of Islamabad to immerse himself in the warmth of Pakistani hospitality.

On a highway across the Islamabad Chaklala Airbase and on the meadow in front of the Presidential Palace stood colossal portraits of Chinese and Pakistani presidents and premiers, with one of a huge banner proclaiming "Sino-Pak friendship is loftier than the mountain and deeper than the ocean."

Faiz Muhammad, assistant director of the Capital Development Authority in Islamabad, said on Tuesday the city is preparing in the warmest way it could ever do to greet the Chinese guests.

"Pakistan and China are already in very good rapports, and we anticipate the relations to get even better than before," he said.

Ahead of Wen's trip, Salman Bashir, Pakistan's new ambassador to China, said the visit will be another milestone in the history of bilateral relations.

Sino-Pakistan trade soared by 26 per cent year on year to reach a record high of US$3 billion in 2004. The two-way trade increased by 33 per cent through this
February to US$450 million, indicated the latest Chinese customs statistics.

The ambassador was quoted by Xinhua as saying China's interaction with South Asia is "a factor of peace and stability in the region and the world."

Tight agenda

Pakistan is Premier Wen's first leg of a four-nation South Asian tour, which will also take him to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India through April 12.

The premier is due to address the 4th foreign minister's meeting of the Asia Co-operation Dialogue, which is scheduled to open in Islamabad today (April

Wen's three-day agenda also includes meetings with Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf and other leaders on Wednesday.

His other activities include attending the foundation stone laying ceremony of Pakistan-China Friendship Centre in Islamabad.

He will fly to Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city and a cultural and educational centre, late on Wednesday.

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