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PM;China,Pakistan want conflict-free region

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Saturday hosted a luncheon in honour of his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao and members of his delegation.

The Chinese premier is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, aimed at further strengthening bilateral ties and expanding cooperation in all areas.

The luncheon was attended by politicians from various political parties, Chairman Senate Farooq H. Naek, Speaker National Assembly Fehmida Mirza, Governors and Chief Ministers of the four provinces, members of the federal cabinet, services chiefs, diplomats and senior civil and military officials.

Prime Minister Gilani extended a warm welcome to the Chinese premier. He said the ties between the two countries were “rock solid” and the two would jointly celebrate 2011 as the year of Pak-China friendship, marking the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations.

Gilani acknowledged with gratitude China’s assistance to Pakistan in the 2005 earthquake, the Attabad lake and the recent floods.

He said Pakistan supports the one-China policy and “condemns any attempt to undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Gilani said the two countries share the ideals of a safe, secure and prosperous neighbourhood and a region free from strife and conflict.

“We want this vision to be translated into reality,” he added.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said both countries were good neighbours and had marched ahead through thick and thin together.

He said the relationship had gone beyond bilateral ties and had moved into the strategic sphere.

Jiabao recalled the devastation caused by the floods and said the Chinese people were deeply concerned by the disaster. He assured Pakistan of China’s support in the country’s agriculture, infrastructure and energy sectors on a sustainable and durable basis.

Jiabao said he was delighted to return to Pakistan after five years and appreciated the hospitality.

He said the two sides will hold a series of events next year to further strengthen their ties for an enduring strategic partnership.

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