Gilani wins China`s backing to counter tense ties with US

China has announced USD 400 million economic package to expand Pak`s infrastructure.

Beijing: Pakistan Prime Yusuf Raza Gilani
on Friday wrapped up his high profile visit here after securing
China`s open backing to counter-balance his country`s tense
ties with US, following the killing of Osama bin Laden, besides
garnering a large economic and defence package.

On the last day of his four day visit, Gilani met
Chinese President Hu Jintao, who reaffirmed China`s firm
backing to its beleaguered strategic ally saying, Pakistan has
made outstanding contributions in the fight against terrorism
and international community, meaning Washington should respect
its sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

"The two sides shared the view that against the
background of a complex and ever changing international and
regional situation, it is of high significance to consolidate
and deepen the China-Pakistan all weather strategic
partnership," a China-Pak joint statement said today.

The bilateral ties will be stepped up "in line with
the principles and spirit of the treaty of friendship,
Cooperation and Good-neighborly relations between the People`s
Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan signed
in 2005," it added.

Hu, General-Secretary of the ruling Communist Party
also called upon the international community to help Pakistan
in its endeavor to combat extremism and terrorism asserting
that it is an important country in the region and has a unique
role in promoting the reconciliation and development in

Hu`s assertions formed part of carefully orchestrated
campaign by Beijing to highlight its support for Pakistan
during Gilani`s visit.

This coupled with "revelations" by Prime Minister Wen
Jiabao in his talks with his Pakistani counterpart that
Beijing has conveyed its firm stand to US during recent
strategic dialogue with Washington, made analysts to speculate
that China is deftly playing Pakistan card against America
just as US was poised to gain an upper hand in Pakistan and
Afghanistan after bin Laden`s killing.

A joint statement issued at the end Gilani`s visit
said "Chinese side recognised the tremendous efforts and the
great sacrifice that Pakistan has made in fighting terrorism."

The statement said "the two sides shared the view that
terrorism, separatism and extremism pose serious threats to
regional peace, stability and security, reaffirming their
resolve to undertake substantive cooperation under bilateral
and multilateral frameworks, and jointly fight the three

"Pakistan reiterated that it would never allow its
territory to be used to attack any country and will continue
to support international counter-terrorism cooperation," it

China said it is "firm on the policy of pursuing
friendly ties with Pakistan," and Pakistan stressed that
pursuing friendship with China is the "bedrock of Pakistan`s
foreign policy and enjoys national consensus," according to
the joint statement.

Explaining China`s stand, Rong Ying, Senior Fellow at
the state run Chinese Institute of Strategic Studies told
official CCTV today that China and Pakistan play strategic
balancing role in the region which is undergoing unprecedented
transformation which has lot of uncertainties ahead.

"China wants Pakistan`s role and policy should be
recognised as it was made by Pakistan itself based in its own
interest and supported by its people.

I believe in the years ahead China and Pakistan
cooperation will continue to play such kind of role for
safeguarding regional and global stability," he said.
Besides winning Chinese support and solidarity to
deal with turbulent situation at home and abroad, Gilani
secured 50 JF-17 Thunder jets from Pakistan on what was stated
as easy loan terms.

Though China declined to reveal details, the Chinese
offer surprised analysts here as the jet is currently was
being joint produced by Pakistan and China in their respective
countries for the past few years.

China has also announced USD 400 million economic
package as well as a host new projects to expand Pakistan`s

The joint statement said the two sides signed three
agreements and an MOU on cooperation in economic assistance,
finance and mining.

The two sides reiterated they will continue to
enhance mutual trust and cooperation in military and security
for peace, security and stability of the two countries and the
region, it said adding that they agreed to give further
impetus to exchanges and cooperation in maritime security.

Before leaving for home, Gilani visited China
Academy of Space Technology (CAST) where a Pakistani satellite
PAKSAT-1R is under construction.

EXIM Bank of China had announced a soft-term credit
of 86.5 million RMB for the manufacturing of PAKSAT-1R.

Pakistan and China have cooperation in various fields
including the space technology and Pakistan`s first satellite
Badar was also launched with the help of China in 1990.