Attack on Pakistan will be attack on China

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China has warned in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China. Beijing has advised Washington to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and solidarity and this was formally conveyed to the United States at last week’s China-US strategic dialogue and economic talks.

The Chinese foreign minister, who represented his country in the talks, conveyed the Chinese feelings to the United States. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao disclosed this during his two-hour-long formal talks with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at the Great Hall of the People. The two prime ministers also held a 45-minute one-to-one meeting before beginning the talks with their respective delegations.

Highly-placed diplomatic sources told The News here in Beijing that the Chinese leadership was extremely forthcoming in assuring its unprecedented support to Pakistan for its national cause and security and discussed with PM Gilani all subjects of mutual interests.

The Chinese prime minister announced that the Chinese leadership was sending a special envoy to Islamabad to express solidarity with Pakistan at this crucial period in its history. The envoy, a senior level minister, will also take part in the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Sources disclosed that China had also agreed to provide Pakistan 50 new JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter planes for its air force. The Block-58 planes would be produced in Pakistan under a co-production agreement. It is likely that the production of the planes would start in June next year and till then China will complete the supply of 50 JF-17 planes for which an agreement was signed earlier.

The two countries are also in the process of discussing the supply of J-20 Stealth and Xiaolong/FC-1 multi-purpose light fighter aircraft to Pakistan. They are discussing the mode of payment and the number of planes to be provided to Pakistan, the sources said.

The two countries have also agreed to step up work on Pakistan’s satellite currently being built in China, which would be launched into orbit on August 14. The satellite will supply multifarious data to Pakistan, the sources added.

Prime Minister Gilani has termed Pakistan-China relations and friendship as “unique”. Talking to the accompanying journalists after his talks with the Chinese premier, he said that China, besides acknowledging the contribution and sacrifices of Pakistan in the war against terrorism, had supported the country’s cause at the international level.

“China supported Pakistan’s cause on its own accord,” Gilani said with reference to the recent Sino-US strategic and economic dialogue in Washington where the Chinese side conveyed to the US that keeping in view Pakistan’s sacrifices and concerns, it should be helped and its national honour be respected. In the wake of challenges faced by Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden (OBL), Premier Wen was categorical in supporting Pakistan’s stance and strategy as well as its concerns over national honour and sovereignty.

The prime minister said that China has also asked the US to work for improving its relations with Pakistan keeping in view the present scenario. Pakistan, he said, has reiterated its position on one-China policy and said Pakistan fully supports China on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet. He said both sides had agreed to continue their consultations on the UN reforms.

He said the two countries were in agreement to enhance economic and trade relations and complete all ongoing development projects in Pakistan under the five-year development programme. The prime minister said it was also decided that fast track work would be done on the second five-year programme beginning next year. It was also agreed that the dialogue on the second phase of the Free Trade Agreement would be launched soon. It was also agreed that both countries would formulate a long-term joint energy mechanism for electricity generation in Pakistan through various means, including nuclear.

To a question, the prime minister said both sides had also agreed to increase defence cooperation and China had assured Pakistan help in enhancing capacity of its armed forces. He said Pakistan’s trade with China had registered a significant increase in the last two years and efforts were being made to raise it to US$15 billion a year.

Gilani said Pakistani exports to China increased by 37 percent last year while the Chinese exports increased by 28 percent.

To a question about Pak-US relations after the Abbottabad operation, the prime minister referred to the resolution adopted by the joint sitting of parliament, and said Pakistan will revisit it relations with the United States with regard to counter-terrorism cooperation. He, however, also mentioned the recent visit of Senator John Kerry to Pakistan as well as the joint statement issued after his meetings with the Pakistani leadership and said that it was decided that Pakistan and the US will conduct joint operations if any information was received about a ‘High Value Target’ (HVT).

The prime minister said that Pakistan had the capability and capacity to defend its frontiers, adding Pakistan’s armed forces are fully vigilant and no such incident will happen in the future. He said the issue of drone attacks was also raised during the visit of Senator Kerry and Pakistan will continue its efforts to stop these attacks, which have proved to be counter-productive.

To a question, Gilani said that the political and military leadership would take a decision about a military operation in North Waziristan. No pressure would be accepted in this regard and Pakistan alone would decide on this, he added.

About the relations with other countries, the prime minister said Pakistan desires good relations with all its neighbours including India, Afghanistan and Iran.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khan told the media China will help Pakistan check its trade deficit and will send a special purchase mission for procurement of Pakistani goods to enhance its exports to China.

He said China will provide Pakistan over $400 million, including $100 million soft credit and a grant of 70 million RMB, for the post-flood reconstruction and development projects. He said that the ICBC (Bank of China) will open two branches in Pakistan and the National Bank of Pakistan will also open its branch in China.

Ambassador Masood Khan said that China had agreed to provide 500 scholarships to Pakistani students. Both countries have also decided to set up cultural centres in each other’s countries to promote cultural cooperation. He said China would provide treatment to 1,000 cataract patients from Pakistan.
Respect Pak sovereignty, China tells US

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