Beijing (AFP) July 7, 2010
China and Pakistan pledged to step up joint efforts against terrorism Wednesday as the presidents of the two neighboring nations vowed to expand trade and economic cooperation, state media said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao welcomed Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to the Great Hall of the People where the two leaders expressed their commitment to deepening ties in energy, communications and infrastructure construction.
"China and Pakistan are both victims of terrorism," China Central Television quoted Hu as telling Zardari.
"To strengthen Sino-Pakistani anti-terrorism cooperation and strike at terrorism, separatism and religious extremism is in the fundamental interests of the people's of both nations."
Hu urged Pakistan to continue to look out for the safety and security of Chinese nationals and companies in Pakistan following a spate of kidnappings in recent years, it said.
Zardari is in China until Sunday and will meet with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and other leaders on Thursday, Chinese diplomats said.
Earlier Zardari met with top Chinese bankers and business executives pledging greater protection for Chinese investment in his nation, his office said in a statement.
Besides talks with executives from NORINCO, China's top arms manufacturer, Zardari also met with leaders of Sinohydro Corporation, the nation's main dam builder and China Petrochemical Corporation, also known as SINOPEC, the statement said.
China is Pakistan's strongest ally and Islamabad relies heavily on Beijing for its defence and infrastructure needs.
Many Chinese companies operate in Pakistan and China is involved in the construction of a deep-sea port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.
China has also agreed to build two new civilian nuclear reactors in Pakistan, the government said in March, amid persistent concerns about the safety of nuclear materials in the restive south Asian state.
News of the reactors elicited concerns from Washington over the security of nuclear materials in troubled Pakistan, where the Taliban movement is waging a bloody offensive.
In recent days a Pakistan army contingent has been taking part in joint anti-terror exercises with the Chinese military in China in the latest sign of closer relations between the two countries, state press reported.
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