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Li's Q&A with Pakistani media

China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-23 08:04

Editor's note: The following is an English translation of a written interview given to the Pakistani media by Premier Li Keqiang.

Q1. We have learned that you made your first visit to Pakistan 27 years ago. Could you tell us what impression you got on that visit? This is your first visit to Pakistan since you took office as Chinese Premier. What expectations do you have for this visit?

Li: When it comes to Pakistan, the first word that comes to the mind of the Chinese is "iron brother". To us Chinese, Pakistan is always a trustworthy friend who is as solid as iron. Actually, Chinese netizens refer to Pakistan as Iron Pak. This testifies to the strength of China-Pakistan friendship. In 1986, I led a youth delegation to Pakistan. Wherever we went, in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, we were greeted with rapturous welcome. The petals showering on us and brightly smiling faces are still fresh in my memory, as if it happened only yesterday. I will never forget the goodwill of the Pakistani people.

Now back in Pakistan again, I feel very much at home. I find Pakistan a country on the move. I am paying this visit to enhance our friendship, deepen cooperation and chart the course for growing China-Pakistan ties. In recent years, the Pakistani people have, with unremitting efforts, overcome numerous difficulties and made continuous progress in national development. Pakistan plays an active role in regional and international affairs and is an important force for upholding peace and promoting development of the region. I salute the unyielding spirit of the Pakistani people, and China has every confidence in the future development of Pakistan.

I wish to extend congratulations to Pakistan on its successful election. I look forward to discussing with Pakistani government and public leaders ways to deepen China-Pakistan comprehensive strategic cooperation in a new era, so that our two countries will be better able to meet challenges, achieve common development and lift China-Pakistan relations to a new high.

Please convey the warm greetings and best wishes of the Chinese government and people to the Pakistani government and people.

Q2. China and Pakistan are all-weather partners of strategic cooperation. China-Pakistan relationship is often viewed as a special one by the international media. What is your view on this relationship?

Li: China-Pakistan relationship is indeed special, because it transcends the changes of the times and politics and represents a fine example of friendly state-to-state interactions. China and Pakistan enjoy a long-standing friendship. Over the past 62 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the seed of China-Pakistan friendship sowed by Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and other leaders of the older generation, has grown into a towering tree thanks to tendering by several generations of Chinese and Pakistanis. It has withstood the test of wind and rain and grown stronger and more vibrant with luxuriant leaves.

Today, China-Pakistan relations have acquired a new dimension of the times. The establishment and deepening of China-Pakistan comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation meets the common interests of both our peoples and enhances stability and development in our region. I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate to the Pakistani people and the international community that the new Chinese government will continue pursuing a policy of friendship with Pakistan. We will work together with Pakistan to uphold and grow China-Pakistan relations and take more pragmatic steps to bring more benefits to our two peoples. China and Pakistan should remain good, trustworthy partners and good, sincere and reliable brothers.

During this visit, the two countries will issue a joint statement on deepening China-Pakistan comprehensive strategic cooperation. It will map out a grand blueprint for the pursuit of common development by both countries. We are confident that this will instill new impetus into China-Pakistan cooperation and enable China-Pakistan relations to make greater strides forward from a new starting point.

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