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Nawaz meets President Xi; pledged to take friendship to new heights

05 July, 2013

BEIJING: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
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BEIJING: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday met Chinese President Xi Jinping and both the leaders pledged to carry forward their countries' all-weather friendship to new heights.

During their meeting the two leaders had a discussion on bilateral and other issues of concern to their countries. Nawaz said that when Premier Li Keqiang visited Pakistan, China expressed the desire that he should first visit China as the prime minister. Nawaz said that he has fulfilled the desire of Premier Li, saying it is an honour for him to visit the friendly country which is a source of strength for Pakistan. The prime minister told President Xi that Pakistan is faced with numerous challenges and the uphill task to pull the economy out from the current difficulties.

He said that this is a difficult time, yet he is committed and determined to surmount all challenges. Nawaz said that he was fully cognisant of the security situation in parts of the country and the government was working out a strategy to improve it. He pointed out that his country has to address the economic challenges in tandem with internal and regional security issues. The premier said that failure to address these issues was not an option for him and added that Pakistan believes China will stand by it.

Nawaz was warmly welcomed by President Xi who recalled his meeting with him in 2010. President Xi said that he has great and happy memories of that meeting and the issues discussed at that time. "I have great liking for you and your brother," said Xi in lighter tone. The Chinese president said that "we are proud that you have chosen China for your first overseas visit". "Pakistan is a great country and we have enormous love and affection for it," he added.

He expressed the hope the visit will prove to be fruitful as a lot of homework had been done by both the countries. He expressed the hope that tangible outcome will emerge in the coming days. Both sides are expected to commit themselves for the implementation of different projects and further bolstering of their multifaceted cooperation.

Prime Minister Nawaz called upon the heads and chief executives officers of financial institutions and corporate sector of China to help resolve Pakistan's energy problems and in the development of infrastructure projects. In a detailed meeting with the president and China's Export-Import (EXIM) bank Chairman Li Ruogu, the prime minister asked Li to provide funding to the Chinese enterprises working in Pakistan. He said that with the support of EXIM bank, the pace of development of various projects in Pakistan would be increased.

Prime Minister Nawaz said that his government wants to carry out various projects with technical cooperation of China. He pointed out that his government was ready to provide sovereign guarantee to the Chinese companies that wanted to undertake various developmental projects. China and Pakistan, the prime minister said, are important friends and "we are grateful to China for their support in various areas of economy".

Later, talking to media persons, Li said that EXIM bank is already supporting 27 projects in Pakistan and the bank will consider further expanding its assistance in energy, transport and infrastructure projects. He said that EXIM is funding $6 billion in various projects. In a meeting with China Development Bank Chairman Hu Huaibang the prime minister briefed him about his government's policies and asked for his support.

Nawaz asked Hu to arrange credit line and said that a special fund will be created for the Pak-China Economic corridor. He also assured a separate fund would be set up for infrastructure development projects.


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