|Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) holds a welcoming ceremony for visiting Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain prior to their talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 19, 2014. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)|
BEIJING, Feb. 19 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain on Wednesday and the two leaders pledged to forge a China-Pakistan "community of shared destiny".
"China and Pakistan are good friends, good partners, good neighbors and good brothers," Xi said during the talks at the Great Hall of the People.
The Chinese side will treat the China-Pakistan ties, as always, from a strategic and long-term perspective, and the ties will be a priority in China's relations with its neighbors, he said.
Hailing the all-weather, time-tested friendship between the two countries, Hussain said to further cement the friendship serves as "the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy".
Support for the unique relationship resonates across Pakistan at all levels including the government, political parties and the people, said the Pakistani president.
Pakistan is willing to build a community of shared destiny with China, said the visiting president. He arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a four-day state visit at Xi's invitation.
Hussain said the Pakistani side is appreciative of China's strategic vision and believes China is an important power to promote peace and development in the world as well as in the region.
It is Hussain's first official foreign trip since taking office in September.
Before their talks, Xi held a red-carpet ceremony to welcome Hussain at the hall in downtown Beijing.
China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang met with Hussain earlier on Wednesday and Premier Li Keqiang is scheduled to meet with the visiting president on Thursday.
During Wednesday's talks, the two presidents agreed to enhance the strategic and cooperative partnership between the two countries, featuring a more solid political foundation, closer economic links, deepened security cooperation and more fluent cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
"China would stand firmly behind Pakistan's efforts to uphold its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and Pakistan would be opposed to any force that attempts to undermine China's sovereignty," according to a news release after the talks.
Xi and Hussain vowed to make joint efforts to cement the traditional friendship and yield more results of practical cooperation out of the friendship.
They agreed to keep high-level interactions and strategic communication between the two countries, and support each other firmly on issues involving their core interests and major concerns.
The two presidents pledged to step up coordination on economic policy, boost defense and security cooperation, increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and enhance coordination on international and regional issues.
During the talks, Xi also said China supports and appreciates Pakistan's efforts to realize reconciliation with India, and Hussain said Pakistan will continue dialogue with India to improve ties with them.
The two presidents also witnessed the signing of a series of cooperative documents by authorities and enterprises from both sides in areas such as economic and trade cooperation, regional connectivity, energy, and people-to-people contact.
DEEPENING CHINA-PAKISTAN COOPERATION
After the talks, the two sides issued a joint statement on deepening China-Pakistan strategic and economic cooperation, in which they pledged to "translate the high level of mutual trust and cooperation that exists" into practical cooperation which can deliver prosperity to the people to both countries.
The two presidents urged relevant offices on both sides to speed up work on the construction of a China-Pakistan economic corridor.
The project connecting Kashgar in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to the southwestern Pakistani port of Gwadar was proposed in an agreement between the two countries reached during Premier Li's visit to Pakistan in May.
Experts forecast that the project might include road and railway, in addition to an optical-fiber link and even a pipeline.
"It was agreed that the economic corridor, by combining China and Pakistan's respective development strategy, would be conducive to their goals of developing the economy and improving people's livelihood, as well as bring benefits to development and prosperity in the region," said Wednesday's joint statement.
The Chinese side also assured Pakistan of its full support in helping the latter to address its energy deficit, which was a major obstacle to Pakistan's socio-economic development.
"The Chinese side will continue to encourage and support China's state-owned enterprises and private companies to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan's conventional and renewable energy sectors," said the statement.
The two sides also agreed to step up cooperation in areas, such as agriculture, health, education and public transport, which have a direct bearing on people's lives.
They maintained that defense cooperation was an important part of the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperation, and agreed to further enhance practical cooperation in defense technology.
Both sides agreed on celebrating China-Pakistan Year of Friendly Exchanges in 2015.
"The two countries should use this opportunity to expand their youth delegation programmes while increasing exchanges between parliamentarians, academics, media persons and artists from both sides," said the statement.
Recognizing the important role that language plays in bringing people together, the two sides also agreed to facilitate the establishment of more Confucius Institutes in Pakistan.
This year, China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language will send 60 Chinese teachers to Pakistan and invite 140 Pakistani teachers to China for training, according to the statement.
The two sides also reached consensus on an early finalization of the Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons/Offenders.
China and Pakistan agreed to work "in close harmony" on major regional and international matters as well as global issues, and continue to work with mutual coordination and cooperation on important regional forums like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asia-Europe Meeting and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
They reaffirmed their commitment to multilateral arms control and non-proliferation efforts.
The two countries agreed to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political reconciliation process in Afghanistan, and continue to work closely with the international community for the promotion of peace and stability in the country.
According to the statement, Pakistan recognized the East Turkistan Islamic Movement as a terrorist organization, which poses a common threat to the peace and stability of China and Pakistan.
"Pakistan will continue to support China's efforts in combatting the three evils of terrorism, extremism and separatism," said the statement.
Pakistan appreciated China's forthright position on Pakistan's counter-terrorism strategy and efforts, and China lauded the sacrifice rendered by the Pakistan side in fighting the global scourge of terrorism, said the statement.
According to the statement, Hussain invited Xi to visit Pakistan at an early date and the Chinese president accepted the invitation.