Gilani visits China as Pak faces international scrutiny

Gilani`s visit is being billed as the most significant by a Pakistan leader.

Last Updated: May 16, 2011, 16:06 PM IST

Beijing: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani is expected to seek stronger support from `all
weather friend` China as he visits the country at a time when
Islamabad is working to tide over the crisis following the
killing of Osama bin Laden on its soil.

Gilani`s visit is being billed as the most significant
by a Pakistan leader in recent times as it comes at a time
when a Pakistan is locked in a tense stand off with long time
ally the US.

"The visit assumes added significance in view of the
ongoing developments in the region," Rong Ying, Senior
Research Fellow at the state-run Chinese Institute of
Strategic Studies said, referring to the US-Pakistan
tensions in the aftermath of bin Laden`s killing by US troops.

China-Pakistan relationship is important and
significant from its own perspective and history, he said.
High level visits by Pakistan to China are frequent
considering their close strategic relations. President Asif
Ali Zardari has visited China five times since he assumed
office in 2008.

But Gilani`s visit this time is attracting more than
usual attention even though it was worked out earlier.
Pakistan is facing internal turmoil after the US raid
that killed bin Laden early this month and unrelenting
pressure from the US to crack down on top Taliban leaders and
other militant groups.

Gilani is therefore expected to seek stronger support
from China at a time when Pakistan is facing intense
international scrutiny and pressure, reports said.

Besides holding talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao
and Premier Wen Jiabao Gilani, Gilani will during his four-day
visit also kick off events being organised to celebrate the
60th year of establishment of diplomatic ties between the two
countries.

He will land in Shanghai tomorrow and go to Suzhou to
address the first conference of World Cultural Forum.
He would later arrive in Beijing along with his high
powered delegation for talks with Chinese leaders.

A number of agreements in the fields of economy,
trade, finance and culture were expected to be signed during
the visit, according to officials on both sides.

For its part China has already extended its full
backing to Pakistan after bin Laden`s death, praising
Islamabad`s contribution to terror and backing its demand that
US should respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
At the same time China also called for united global
efforts to fight terrorism.

PTI