Wen, Zardari discuss Indo-Pak ties, other key issues

Chinese Premier and Pak`s Prez discussed Indo-Pak ties and issues of international importance.

Last Updated: Nov 12, 2010, 21:27 PM IST

Beijing: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday discussed Indo-Pak
ties and issues of international importance, days after US
President Barack Obama endorsed India`s bid for a permanent
UNSC seat.

Zardari, who is in China to take part in the opening
ceremony of the Asian Games at the southern city of Guangzhou,
had a "frank exchange of views" with Wen on the sidelines of
the event.

"Pakistan is committed to the peace process with India
and desires to have friendly and good relations with India. We
sincerely wish to hold meaningful dialogue with India to
resolve all outstanding issues including the issue of Jammu
and Kashmir," Zardari told Wen.

The two leaders discussed "various issues of mutual
interest, including bilateral relations, situation in the
region and matters of international importance," Pakistan`s
state-run APP news agency reported.

The two, who had delegation-level talks followed by
one-and-one meeting, vowed to "further strengthen the Sino-Pak
deep-rooted multi-faceted ties and strategic relationship
through increased cooperation in diverse fields," it said.

"There was unanimity of views on various issues of
regional and international importance, with particular
reference to peace and stability of region," the agency said.

This is the first high-level meeting between the
leadership of the two countries after Obama`s endorsement of
India`s candidature for a permanent UNSC seat during his
maiden visit to New Delhi early this week.

While Pakistan raised strong objections and criticised
the US move, China came out with a more guarded reaction
stating that it was ready to hold talks with India and other
countries on UNSC reforms.

Though there was no specific reference to the US move
in the official reports about the Zardari-Wen meeting,
analysts here said references to "situation in the region and
matters of international importance" indicate that the issue
may have been discussed considering the strategic implications
for both the countries.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had
said in Islamabad yesterday that he had spoken to his Chinese
counterpart about Pakistan`s reservations on India`s bid to
gain permanent membership of UNSC and added that President
Zardari was also expected to raise the issue during his visit
to China. During their meeting, Wen also informed Zardari about
his plans to visit Pakistan next month coinciding with his
trip to India which has already been announced, even though
New Delhi and Beijing are in the process of finalising dates.

Wen hoped his visit to Pakistan would expand ties
between the two sides in new areas.
On his part, Zardari said the government and people of
Pakistan looked forward to Wen`s visit.

Briefing the journalists about Zardari`s meeting with
Wen, Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said that the
Chinese Premier also announced beginning of the second
installment of free commodity aid to the people of
Gilgit-Baltistan from next week.

"The consignment of aid consists of diesel, coal and
food commodities which will be supplied free by China as part
of its aid to the flood victims in GB," he said.

During talks, Zardari called for a currency swap
agreement with China and taking full advantage of the Free
Trade Agreement to take the bilateral trade between the two
countries to USD 15 billion.

Zardari also stressed the need for enhancing
connectivity by working together closely on developing
pipelines, rail links and fibre optic link.

Pakistan President also urged Chinese investment in
water and energy projects in Gilgit-Baltistan and the Thar
coal project in Sindh and called for the setting up of
China-Pakistan Energy Corporation to institutionalise
cooperation in the energy sector.

Zardari reiterated Pakistan`s full support to China on
a host of issues including Tibet, Taiwan and Xinjiang and
described the Pakistan-China strategic cooperation as vital
for defending common interests and to counter forces of
destabilization.

PTI