China, Pakistan to bolster ties

Date : 2013-05-23  | From : China Daily

China and Pakistan said on Wednesday they will set up an economic corridor to further connect their two economies.

Officials and experts said the huge plan will greatly support Pakistan's efforts to revive its economy, while the timing of the visit reflects the deep mutual trust between the two nations.

Li met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and with interim prime minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Wednesday afternoon.

Later, he and Zardari officiated at the signing ceremony of 11 cooperation documents covering areas including trade, technology and culture.

Li said at a joint press conference with Zardari that China and Pakistan have agreed on a long-term plan for an economic corridor to further connect central and western parts of China with Pakistan.

Li is the first world leader to visit the country after Pakistani Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (N) party swept to victory in the May 11 general election on a promise to revitalize the struggling economy.

The party's election manifesto put the emphasis on large infrastructure projects, while outlining the involvement of the private sector in infrastructure development — widely seen as an opportunity for China.

China is Pakistan's second- largest trading partner. Bilateral trade reached $12 billion annually for the first time last year, according to Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, and the two countries plan to raise this to $15 billion in the next two to three years.

Pakistan is the second leg of Li's first overseas trip since he became premier in March. He left Mumbai earlier on Wednesday after a visit to India.

"The purpose of the visit is to devise a strategy to bolster future cooperation and friendship," Li said in an arrival statement.