Chinese Premier Li Keqiang today arrived to a red carpet welcome here and held talks with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, assuring that China's relations with its "all-weather" strategic partner will continue to flourish and strengthen, come what may.
"No matter how the regional and international situation may evolve‚ China will remain committed to consolidating and developing its strategic partnership of cooperation with Pakistan‚" Li at a luncheon hosted in his honour by Zardari.
Li, who assumed premiership in March after a once-in-a-decade leadership change, said that growing friendly relations with Pakistan was a firm policy of the Chinese government.
He said China would continue to firmly support Pakistan in its efforts to uphold independence‚ sovereignty, territorial integrity and achieve national stability and development.
Li, who is visiting Pakistan on the invitation of Zardari, was received by the President and caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso at a military airbase near Islamabad.
Li was presented a 19-gun salute and a guard of honour at the Islamabad Noor Khan Base, where all three services chiefs, high level civil, military officials, diplomats and ministers were present.
57-year-old Li is accompanied by a high powered delegation which includes Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Gao Hucheng, Minister for Commerce and Xu Shaoshi, Chairman of National Development Reform Commission, high ranking officials and leaders of corporate sector.
"On behalf of the government and people of China‚ I wish to pay high tribute and extend best wishes to the government and people of Pakistan‚" the Chinese premier said.
Li said that he had selected Pakistan for his official visit to give a clear and loud message to the international community that whatsoever happens at the international scene China's relations with Pakistan will continue to flourish and further strengthen.
"China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners. Over the past 62 years since establishment of the diplomatic relations‚ our two countries have enjoyed a political relationship of equality and mutual trust‚ engaged in win-win economic cooperation and extend mutual understanding and support on issues involving each other's interests," Li said.