Pak Army chief meets top Chinese defence officials

Kayani is locked in a political conflict with the civilian government over memo scandal.

Beijing: All-weather friends, China and Pakistan on Thursday pledged to strengthen their military ties and step up their defence cooperation to a "new level" as Pakistan`s Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani held talks with top Chinese military officials here.

"China and Pakistan pledged to strengthen military ties
and bring existing cooperation to a new level", state-run
Xinhua news agency reported after Kayani`s meeting with
Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie here.

Kayani, who in the recent months hardened his stance
towards cooperation with US and is locked in a political
conflict with the civilian government over memo scandal,
arrived here last night on a five-day visit.

"China values its traditional friendship with Pakistan,"
Liang said, adding that Beijing hopes to develop pragmatic and
effective cooperation with Pakistan in the national defence
arena, the report said.

Liang said the bilateral "all-weather friendship" held
between China and Pakistan is a strategic choice and is in
accordance with the fundamental interests of both nations.

China hopes to safeguard regional peace and stability with
Pakistan and contribute to the security and development of the
two countries, he said.

Kayani said Pakistan attaches great importance to its
relationship with China, adding that both countries have
extensive common interests in both international and regional

Earlier Kayani held talks with Gen Ma Xiaotian, deputy
Chief of Staff of the People`s Liberation Army (PLA).
Ma was recently in India to take part in the second round
of defence dialogue between the two countries.