Zardari brings daughters to talks

Last Updated 08 July 2010, 15:52 IST

"They wanted to see you in person", Zardari told a bewildered Hu last night while introducing his daughters, in what was billed as formal one-to-one talks between the two leaders.

Zardari proclaimed that the gesture was meant to inspire new generation of Pakistanis to continue "all weather friendship" with China.

Its rare that heads of state during their formal interaction bring their siblings to the table and the Pakistan President's gesture prompted official 'China Daily' to describe it as "rarely seen introduction".

But once the introductions were made, Hu and Zardari went for formal one-to-one talks.
The current visit by Zardari was fifth since taking office in 2008 and the two countries have reached more than 60 agreements during the visits on a host of issues ranging from nuclear collaboration to trade and investment.

"You are old friend. You have paid five visits to China and contributed in great measure to the growth of relations between the two countries. Your trip will further consolidate our strategic partnership to a higher level" Hu told Zardari.

After 100 minutes of talks, including a one-to-one meeting between Hu and Zardari, the two countries re-affirmed to strengthen their strategic relationship between the two countries and increase the level of economic cooperation.

As a measure of this reiteration, the two countries signed an agreement on economic and technical cooperation and four MoUs witnessed by the two Presidents and a pledge of 50 million Yuan grant (about USD 7.5 million) by China to new projects in Pakistan, official Pakistan newsagency APP reported.

"China is a friend and a strategic partner committed to the promotion of stability and economic progress of Pakistan.

China will continue to support Pakistan at various multilateral forums like SAARC and SCO", Hu said. Responding Zardari said, "It is our belief that Pakistan can act as a force multiplier for China and we will continue to work towards this end".

Spokesman for the Pakistani President, Farhatullah Babar said that the one-to-one meeting that was scheduled for 30 minutes initially continued for one hour during which the two leaders discussed a host of issues relating to strategic partnership and reviewing the steps taken so far and charting also the future course of action.

Hu reaffirmed China's support to Pakistan in its fight against militancy also saying that China deeply appreciated the struggle the people and government of Pakistan were waging against the militants, specially that East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement, (ITIM) consisting of militants from China's Muslim Uyghur dominated Xinjiang province bordering Pakistan.

The two countries signed several agreements including MOU on economic and technical cooperation.

Instruments of ratification were also exchanged as a follow-up of the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between the two countries.

An MOU was signed between Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and China Radio International for Urdu service broadcasts in selected Pakistani cities.

Three other MoUs pertaining to the fields of health, geological survey and agriculture were also signed on the occasion.

Zardari also had meetings with an executive of China's Three Gorges Corporation, that runs the huge hydro power dam in Central China, which according to 'China Daily' plans to make invest more than USD 100 billion in two hydro-power projects in Pakistan.

"Though no agreement on nuclear cooperation was inked yesterday, it is widely believed that the talks between the two presidents would firm up Beijing's commitment to expand the Chashma nuclear power complex in Punjab province of Pakistan despite concerns from Washington and New Delhi", the Daily reported.

The Chairman of China's Three Gorges Corporation Cao Guagjing after meeting with President Zardari said, "We are in agreement with the government of Pakistan to develop hydro and other means of power generation including wind energy".

He said feasibility for the 2.6 billion dollar Kohala hydel project has been completed, which will provide 1200 MW electricity after its completion in four years.

He said work on feasibility study for the Bunji Dam project in Gilgit in northern areas has begun that will produce 7000 MW at a cost of USD 8 billion.

Besides 500 MW will be generated from wind turbines at Karachi. The Director General of International Water and Electric Corporation, who was also a part of the delegation, and according to Chinese investors, said that in coming years, the Chinese companies intended to make investment of around 10 billion US dollar in power generation sector.

(Published 08 July 2010, 09:30 IST)

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