China Prez Xi to visit Pakistan this year, no dates yet

President Xi Jinping will make his first official visit to Pakistan this year, China's foreign minister said here on Thursday though he did not confirm whether the trip would take place next month on Pakistan's National Day which the Chinese leader is expected to attend.

PTI| Updated: Feb 12, 2015, 19:08 PM IST

Islamabad: President Xi Jinping will make his first official visit to Pakistan this year, China's foreign minister said here on Thursday though he did not confirm whether the trip would take place next month on Pakistan's National Day which the Chinese leader is expected to attend.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Pakistan earlier today for a two-day visit to discuss various bilateral matters, including the anticipated visit by Xi.

Addressing a joint press conference after talks with Pakistani National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz, Wang refused to give exact dates for Xi's visit.

"That will be his first visit to Pakistan as the head of state of China and that will be the first visit of its kind in 9 years," he said referring to Xi's visit.

The two sides discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of interest and found complete unanimity of views.

Wang, leading an eight-member delegation, will also meet Pakistan's top leadership including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain.

Pakistani officials have privately said that efforts are on to persuade Xi to be the chief guest on the annual Pakistan Day parade on March 23.

Officials said the two sides will also try to finalise the dates of Xi's visit to Pakistan.

Reports of Xi's planned trip come in the backdrop of US President Barack Obama attending the January 26 Republic Day parade, his unprecedented second visit to India.

Xi's visit to Pakistan is due since he had cancelled his tour to Islamabad in September last year over security concerns in the midst of political protests by cricketer- turned-politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party.

It was the first time that a Chinese leader put off a visit to Pakistan, especially while he visited India.

The reports of Xi's visit followed Pakistan army chief Gen Raheel Sharif's tour to China last month.

Gen Sharif's tour coincided with Obama's Delhi visit which raised concerns in China and Pakistan over the US moving closer to India.

"During my discussion with Sartaj Aziz, we agreed on everything. This shows the high degree of trust and support between the two countries," Wang said.

Among bilateral matters, the multi-billion-dollar economic corridor linking China's southwestern region to Pakistan's Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea through rail and road was discussed.