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President to leave for China tomorrow
07-05-2010, 02:24 PM
Post: #1
President to leave for China tomorrow
* Zardari’s spokesman says president will meet Chinese PM, president, politicians and leaders of corporate sector

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari will leave on a six-day official visit to China tomorrow (Tuesday) in a bid to strengthen bilateral ties with Beijing.

During the visit, he would hold talks with top Chinese leadership, including Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, and would also interact with provincial political leaders and leaders of the corporate sector.

According to diplomatic sources, Zardari’s forthcoming visit comes at a time when the US has expressed concerns over Pak-China nuclear cooperation.

Briefing reporters, Farhatullah Babar, the spokesman for the president, said the visit would be Zardari’s fifth since taking charge of office. This demonstrated the importance Islamabad attaches to its strategic ties with China, and reflects Pakistan’s commitment to enhance people-to-people contact with its neighbour.

Besides holding talks with the Chinese president and prime minister, Zardari would meet Chinese People’s Consultative Conference Chairman Jia Qinglin, the Chinese Water Resources and Agriculture minister, and visit the Tsinghuan University to inaugurate an exhibition on the Mohenjodaro-Gandhara civilisation, Babar said.

The president’s entourage would leave Islamabad tonight (Sunday), a day before Zardari flies to Beijing, he said.

Members of the entourage include Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, Petroleum Minister Naveed Qamar, Minister of State for Water Resources Kamal Majidullah, Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, Secretary General to President Salman Farooqui, Ambassador-at-Large Khalil Ahmad Khan, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Shakil Durrani, National Highway Authority (NHA) Chairman Chaudhry Altaf Ahmad, Foreign Office Additional Secretary Khalid Masood and Babar himself.

Address: During the six-day visit, the president would address the Pakistan-China Economic Cooperation Forum and hold discussions with corporate leaders from the energy, construction, mining, petroleum, engineering, shipping, finance and banking sectors, and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

The meeting with the corporate leaders of the Chinese energy sector has been lined up to further push Pakistan’s quest for alternate energy sources, particularly wind and solar energy, to meet its growing power demand.

To reach out to the Chinese people and step up people-to-people contact, Zardari would also interact with the media, both in Beijing and Shanghai.

In the same context, the president would also meet a number of business and corporate leaders, including the presidents of EXIM Bank, the People’s Bank of China, the China Development Bank, the China Northern Railways Corporation, China Three Gorges Corporation, Sinohydro, Sinopec and Politechnologies.

Zardari’s frequent visits to China were in line with the president’s announcement made during his first visit to China in October 2008 that he would undertake brief visits to China to boost new initiatives that the government had decided to take, Babar said.

The new economic initiatives that have been launched recently include the construction of dams, transfer of hybrid technology, expanding banking operations, roads and communication network, cooperation in agriculture sector focusing on optimum utilisation of irrigation water, the development of new high-yielding varieties of wheat and cotton, the proposed Thar Coal project and the dredging of Tarbela reservoir, he said.
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