High-ranking Chinese delegation to visit Pakistan
Islamabad: Amidst continued uncertainty surrounding the troubled ties between Pakistan and the United States, a high-level Chinese delegation, led by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, is scheduled to visit Islamabad next week.
According to official sources, the delegation, comprising top officials from China’s diplomatic corps and intelligence services, will have wide-ranging talks with Pakistan’s civil and military leadership, reports The Express Tribune.
Jiechi would arrive on May 29 and hold formal discussions with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar. Jiechi would also meet President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, sources said.
An official described Jiechi`s visit as significant in view of the ongoing tensions between Islamabad and Washington over the resumption of vital land routes for the foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan.
The supply lines were suspended in November last year in retaliation to NATO air strikes on the Salala check post near the border with Afghanistan, which left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead.
Pakistan is seeking an unconditional apology from the US for the attacks and imposition of an additional transit fee on NATO trucks.
Washington is, however, so far reluctant to accept those demands, delaying Islamabad`s final announcement to lift the six-month old ban on NATO supplies.
China is believed to have backed Pakistan’s stance on resetting ties with the US in line with the new policy terms approved by Parliament last month.
"Pakistan and China share a common perspective on important regional issues including the Afghan endgame," an official said.
Pakistan and China have enjoyed cordial diplomatic relations throughout six decades.
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