Pakistan remains China’s priority, Xi tells Aziz
From K J M Varma
Beijing, Sept 12 (PTI) President Xi Jinping, who had put off his visit to Islamabad due to the political turmoil there, today assured all-weather ally Pakistan that China has always seen the bilateral relations with it as a diplomatic priority.
Xi met?Pakistan’s national security and foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz on the sidelines of 14th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
Calling China and Pakistan all-weather friends, Xi said the two sides understand and support each other at any time.
China has always seen the bilateral relations with Islamabad a diplomatic priority, and is committed to further promoting the strategic cooperative partnership with Pakistan, an observer of the SCO, Xi was quoted by state-run Xinhua news agency as saying.
“I’ve been earnestly looking forward to visiting Pakistan,” Xi said, adding he expects to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Beijing during an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in November.
This is Xi’s first meeting with a Pakistani official after he cancelled visit to Islamabad.
Xi was due to visit Pakistan on Sunday as part of his first South Asia trip which included Sri Lanka and India.
But his visit has been cancelled due to the anti-government protests in Pakistan.
Instead of Pakistan, he would now go to the Maldives and later travel to Sri Lanka and arrive in India on September 17 on a three-day visit.
This is the first time in recent times a senior Chinese leader will be visiting India without going to Pakistan.
About the political situation in Pakistan, Xi said relevant parties there are absolutely capable of resolving divergence and maintaining national stability through negotiations that serve the fundamental interests of the nation and the people.
On the recent flood in Pakistan that caused heavy human and property losses, Xi said the Chinese government decided to offer more aid.
Aziz conveyed to Xi greetings from Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Sharif and thanked China for consistent understanding, support and assistance.
The Pakistani government and people, he said, are eagerly anticipating a state visit by President Xi to their country at an early date.
“We are convinced that the visit would inject strong impetus to our bilateral friendship and cooperation and propel Pakistan-China relations into a new phase,” Aziz said.