Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf Sunday embarked upon a landmark visit to China, envisioning strong and broad-based ties between the two countries whose "friendship has been a factor of stability in the region", the official APP reported.
"We are proud of our ties with China. Our relationship with China is time-tested and broad-based and this visit will be a landmark in further enhancing our political and economic friendship," he said, prior to his departure for a five-day state visit to China.
During the visit, which marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan, Musharraf will hold extensive talks with the Chinese leadership on further reinforcing the bilateral relations on long-term basis. Acknowledging the importance of Beijing's increasing influence in Asian and world affairs, Musharraf noted, "China has a role to play in peace, stability, harmony and economic development of the region as it borders all major Asian regions including Central Asia, South Asia, South East Asia."
In fact, China has a great role to play not only in the region but the whole world, said the APP.
"We will impart further strength to our relationship, which is multi-faceted. Our friendship has been a factor of stability in the region," said the president.
The APP said that the two sides would also discuss cooperation in the fields of nuclear energy and defense.
"The Pakistani and Chinese leaders will seek ways to further expand their commerce and economic ties," Musharraf said. "We will also discuss improvement of Korakoram Highway." The president was referring to the major trade route and Chinese cooperation in a string of mega development projects underway in Pakistan.
Besides, the APP said, Mushaaraf will also exchange views on regional and international issues of common interest during meetings with his Chinese counterpart and other senior officials.
The Pakistani president is accompanied by First Lady Begum Sehba Musharraf.
Included in the President's delegation are Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan, Minister for Defense Production Habibullah Warraich, Minister of State for Privatization and Investment Omar Ahmed Ghumman and other senior officials.