Pakistani youth visit China

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Liu Jian (centre) greets Pakistani youth delegation members April 21 in Islamabad. A 100-member youth delegation left for China April 21. [Yasir Rehman]

To promote personal contact and maintain strong ties from generation to generation, a 100-member youth delegation from Pakistan left April 21 for China.

In 2006, visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao invited 100 Pakistani youth to visit his country annually at Chinese expense for five years. Pakistan made a reciprocal offer.

The exchange coincides with celebrations of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Both sides have declared 2011 the Pak-China Friendship Year.

“The youth exchange programme is aimed at increasing mutual understanding between the two countries and peoples, especially in the Pak-China Friendship Year,” Chinese Ambassador Liu Jian told Central Asia Online.

The youth delegation has an even balance of both genders selected from every corner of the country and every walk of life. Meanwhile, a high-level Chinese delegation from Inner Mongolia is visiting Pakistan on in connection with the Friendship Year.

A Chinese delegation of government officials, academics, writers and journalists in their 20s and 30s visited Pakistan earlier this year.

“Youth are the future of the country who will strive to bring the two countries closer and deepen their ties, for the times to come,” Liu said.

Liu hosted a reception at the Chinese Embassy for the Pakistani youth delegation before its departure. The youth delegation is scheduled to visit Beijing, Jiangxi and Guangdong April 22-29 and will interact with its Chinese counterparts.

“The Pak-China strategic partnership is a guarantee of peace and security of the region and helps the two nations in achieving economic stability and prosperity,” Liu said.

During Hu’s 2006 visit, Liu recalled, the two sides decided to exchange youth delegations annually to enhance understanding of each other’s customs, traditions and lives; share their experiences; and learn ways to improve their lives.

“Our relations are higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the oceans and sweeter than honey,” he said.

Sino-Pakistani relations are a good example of peaceful co-existence under two different social systems, he said.

Pakistani Additional Foreign Secretary Hassan Javed expressed hope that the youth would be able to learn much about China and emulate its successes in Pakistan.

Such visits provide a unique opportunity to learn about the culture and tradition of neighbours and to build mutual understanding, Salman Paras, 22, a Sheena-language local singer from Astore, Gilgit, told Central Asia Online.

“This visit will also provide me an opportunity to learn about Chinese music and poetry as well as China’s rich cultural heritage,” he said.

As part of the Friendship Year, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will visit China next month, while Hu plans to visit Islamabad during the final quarter of the year.

Pakistani youth visit China.

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