China seeks greater military cooperation with Pakistan

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Islamabad, Feb 28: China on Friday sought enhanced "pragmatic military cooperation" with Pakistan to jointly safeguard regional peace and stability in the face of the "ever-changing" global security situation.

Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, on an official visit to Pakistan, said the "all-weather" friendship between the two countries is a strategic choice of the two sides. "China and Pakistan should continue to enhance pragmatic military cooperation to jointly safeguard regional peace and stability," he was quoted as saying by China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

During his meeting with Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Chang said bilateral military ties "should become closer in the face of ever-changing international and regional security situations". Chang also called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who said Pakistan deeply values China's support for its national security and territorial integrity.

China has emerged the largest international investor in Pakistan, where it is pumping in billions of dollars in sectors like energy and telecommunications.

The two countries are also working on the ambitious Kashgar-Gwadar trade corridor that will pass through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which borders the restive Xinjiang province. The project includes construction of a 200-km tunnel that will facilitate trade and commuters.

Sharif said the corridor would benefit both countries and transform the regional economy as it would dovetail with the strategy of connecting South and Central Asia.

"Solid foundation for our time-tested and all-weather friendship is provided by strong mutual trust, excellent cooperation and convergence of views on regional and global issues," Sharif said.

The premier expressed confidence that Pakistan-China cooperation, including in defence, will continue to grow. Chang reiterated his government's support for Pakistan.

PTI

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