Pakistan, China sign $35bn worth of deals

Wen also addressed a special joint session of parliament early Sunday.

Pakistan, China sign $35bn worth of deals

China and Pakistan concluded nearly 15 billion dollars' worth of deals.

Business leaders formalised paperwork -- adding to the 20 billion dollars' worth of deals signed Friday -- under blanket security at Islamabad's five-star Marriott Hotel.

Boosting trade and investment with poverty-stricken Pakistan have been the main focus of the first visit in five years by a Chinese premier to the country.

Pakistan regards China as its closest ally and considers the deals incredibly important to a moribund economy which was dealt a massive blow by catastrophic flooding this year and suffers from sluggish Western investment.

"We signed 18 agreements today worth close to 15 billion dollars and we hope to grow further together in coming years," said Sultan Ahmad Chawla, president of Pakistan's chamber of commerce and industry.

According to a list handed out to journalists, the biggest deal was 6.5 billion dollars to develop wind and solar power.

Pakistan suffers from a debilitating energy crisis and produces only 80 percent of the electricity it needs.

Though not specifically mentioned, behind-the-scenes talks were expected on China building a one-gigawatt nuclear power plant as part of Pakistani plans to produce 8,000 megawatts of electricity by 2025 to make up its energy shortfall.

"We have established an all-weather friendship and engaged in all-round cooperation. The China-Pakistan relationship has withstood the test of time and changes in the international landscape," Wen told a lunch in his honour.

"Under no circumstances we will give up on our commitment to pursuing this partnership."

Wen inaugurated a cultural centre built as a monument to Pakistani-Chinese friendship and held talks with opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and senior figures in the military, which depends on China for hardware.

The 35-million-dollar Pakistan-China Friendship Centre offers the Pakistani capital a conference venue, theatre, cinema and space for multiple events.

Before arriving in Islamabad, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited India, where he and his 400-strong delegation signed deals that will see trade double to 100 billion dollars a year by 2015.

"More than money"

Wen also addressed a special joint session of parliament early Sunday.

"Strengthening and promoting strategic, brotherly relations is our joint strategic choice and they are in the interests of two countries and their people," Wen said, as he wrapped up a three-day visit to Pakistan.

Chinese leaders applaud Pakistan's efforts against "terrorism" in the speech.

"Pakistan has given great sacrifices and made great efforts in the fight against terrorism. It is a reality...and the international community should respect Pakistan's efforts," he said.

He said China would try to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in the endeavour.

Analysts say the trip is about more than money.

"It's a clear signal of China's growing, assertive diplomacy," said independent analyst Hamayoun Khan.

"They (China) do not want Pakistan to be entirely dependent on the United States and the International Monetary Fund, and then get dictation from them," Khan said.

"China's massive investment in this time proves two things. One is that China is a genuine ally of Pakistan, and second, it is a clear signal to the U.S. that if the U.S. supports India against China, China will support Pakistan."


Agencies

Last Mod: 19 Aralık 2010, 17:06
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