Yousuf Raza Gilani to visit China

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Yusuf Raza Gilani
Beijing, May 10: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will visit China from May 17 to 20 in the immediate aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden and the resultant tensions between Islamabad and Washington.

Announcing Gilani's visit, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu told reporters that Pakistani Prime Minister's visit was worked out before bin Laden's killing.

The visit is taking in connection with the establishment of 60th year of diplomatic relations between the two countries, she said.

"China and Pakistan are each other's good neighbours, friends and brothers," Jiang said, adding that Gilani would hold talk with President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao with the aim of deepening cooperation between the two countries.

Jiang said China was ready to take this opportunity to deepen "practical cooperation across the board" and further boost the bilateral relations.

Leaders of the two countries will preside over the signing of several documents in the economic and cultural fields.

She, however, did not answer a question whether the leaders would discuss the issue of nuclear cooperation during Gilani's visit.

"The leaders will exchange views on bilateral, regional and international issues to promote pragmatic cooperation between the two countries, she said.

China and Pakistan have "maintained sound communication and cooperation" in various fields including countering terrorism, she said.

On the diplomatic tensions between the US and Pakistan following the raid that killed bin Laden, Jiang said, "our position is clear. We support countries implementing counter terrorism strategies as per their local conditions, and international cooperation to jointly counter it".

As the differences between the US and Pakistan escalated in the aftermath of the bin Laden killing, Beijing came out with full support of Islamabad praising Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts and its cooperation in the war against terror.

PTI

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