China-Pakistan friendship a blessing to Asian prosperity
Updated: 2015-04-21 20:51
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BEIJING - The friendship between China and Pakistan has been praised as "higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey".
Generations of leaders and people from both countries have devoted energy to the relationship.
On his first visit to Pakistan, Chinese President Xi Jinping said it was like "visiting the home of my own brother".
Those who have cast doubt on the relationship because of Xi's canceled visit to Pakistan last fall are too blind to see that the two countries' bilateral ties are there for many good reasons.
As neighbors, China and Pakistan have always been ready to extend a helping hand. A Chinese rescue team was the first to arrive in 2005 when a 7.8 magnitude quake jolted Pakistan, and the Pakistani government contributed all of its tents, including those in strategic reserves, to China's quake-stricken areas in Sichuan in 2008.
Chinese netizens even coined the term "Iron Pak" to refer to the unbreakable ties between the two countries. As China spends more efforts building a "community of common destiny" with Pakistan, economic cooperation is also on the rise.
In addition to rising trade and mutual investment, China and Pakistan are currently working together on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project aimed at boosting connectivity between the two neighbors and part of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
The project, which centers on the Gwadar Port as well as energy, infrastructure and industrial cooperation, will drive development across Pakistan and deliver tangible benefits to its people.
Once completed, the CPEC will link not only the border areas of the two nations, but also land-locked central Asian countries such as Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
China and Pakistan on Tuesday issued a joint declaration in which the two set a target to lift bilateral trade to 20 billion U.S. dollars in three years, up from the current 16 billion dollars.
The spillover effect from China-Pakistan cooperation is not confined to the economic arena.
The school massacre last December in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, which left 145 people dead, including 132 schoolchildren, again highlighted Pakistan's role in the war against terror.
After the United States decreased its military presence in Afghanistan, Asia now needs Pakistan's stability more than ever.
China needs stability in Pakistan to prevent it from becoming a safe haven for terrorists originating in Xinjiang, especially after the Kunming railway station knife attack in 2014, which left 29 civilians dead.
The two pledged on Tuesday to make concerted efforts to resolutely crack down on the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, a UN-listed terror group.
As Xi wrote in an op-ed in the Pakistan Daily Times ahead of his visit, the two countries are presented with a great chance to "build the China-Pakistan community of common destiny and set a fine example for efforts by China and its neighboring countries."
What China pursues is not just the interests of the Chinese people, but also the common interests of people around the world. The world should welcome a close China-Pakistan friendship.
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Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Pakistan and attend the Asian-African Summit and activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference in Indonesia from April 20 to 24.
Attend the opening ceremony of the Asian-African Summit;
Meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo;
Attend the closing ceremony of the Asian-African Summit;
Historical walk from Savoy Homann Hotel to Gedung Merdeka;
Attend activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference;