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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C), flanked by President Asif Ali Zardari and caretaker premier Mir Hazar Khan Khoso is welcomed by hostesses bearing Chinese flags upon his arrival at Pakistan's Nur Khan air base in Rawalpindi on May 22, 2013. — Photo by AFP
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C), flanked by President Asif Ali Zardari and caretaker premier Mir Hazar Khan Khoso is welcomed by hostesses bearing Chinese flags upon his arrival at Pakistan's Nur Khan air base in Rawalpindi on May 22, 2013. — Photo by AFP
A welcome billboard showing portraits of visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, President Asif Ali Zardari, and caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso in Islamabad on May 21, 2013. — Photo by AFP
A welcome billboard showing portraits of visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, President Asif Ali Zardari, and caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso in Islamabad on May 21, 2013. — Photo by AFP
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang steps down from his plane upon arrival at Pakistan's Nur Khan air base in Rawalpindi on May 22, 2013. — Photo by AFP
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang steps down from his plane upon arrival at Pakistan's Nur Khan air base in Rawalpindi on May 22, 2013. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: China's premier began a two-day visit to Pakistan on Wednesday by praising the relationship between the two Asian powers in glowing terms.

Premier Li Keqiang said ''the tree of China-Pakistan friendship'' was planted decades ago, nurtured by successive leaders and ''is now exuberant with abundant fruits''.

Both sides are typically effusive in describing their alliance, underlying the mutual benefits to each side. Pakistani leaders have on previous visits described the relationship as ''higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey''.

Keqiang arrived in Islamabad on the heels of a visit to India, his first trip abroad since becoming premier in March. Keqiang and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sought to downplay a recent border dispute and stressed the aim of forging deeper cooperation. They expressed hope they could increase trade from $61.5 billion last year to $100 billion by 2015.

Pakistan would also like to increase trade with China, although the numbers are much smaller. Trade between the two countries exceeded $12 billion for the first time in 2012, and they hope to reach $15 billion within three years, according to a statement by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry.

The two countries are expected to sign agreements related to energy, technology and space during Keqiang’s visit.

''Friendship with China is a cornerstone of our foreign policy,'' President Asif Ali Zardari said in a speech Wednesday before a lunch hosted in Keqiang’s honour.

The lunch was attended by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) won a resounding victory in national elections on May 11 and is set to form the next government.

Sharif's main focus is on turning around Pakistan's stuttering economy, and its relationship with China is an important factor in the country's growth.

China took over operational control of a strategic deep-water seaport on Pakistan's southwest coast earlier this year that could serve as a vital economic hub for Beijing and perhaps a key military outpost. Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea occupies a strategic location between South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. It lies near the Strait of Hormuz, gateway for about 20 per cent of the world's oil.

Comments (59) Closed

Rahimuddin May 22, 2013 12:31pm

May Allah Keep Stronger the friendship of Pakistan & China forever.

Riaz Ahmad May 22, 2013 12:32pm

China is willing to help, but it is about time Pakistan pay attention to its corruption, crony ism, patronage and ineptitude, gnawing away heart and soul of the country. Bar for China, every one in the world has deserted Pakistan, no one want to know a corrupt country that has become an epicentre of international terrorism. Blame game is no solution, solution lies in concerted and decisive action. Zirdari and PPP and MQM have brought Pakistan to its knees, now Nawaz Sharif and PML-N must move away from old self serving politics to new politics maritocracy serving the country. Imran Khan and PTI must play a meticulous role in exposing government ineptitude and corruption and set example of good governance in KP.

waqaralam May 22, 2013 12:46pm

Welcome Sir.

Saud Tufail May 22, 2013 12:49pm

Good to see a Coca-Cola truck in the snap. :)

Malik Anujq May 22, 2013 01:07pm

Firstly they were licking America's feets when it was helping them and now China's. hahahaha Thats all what they have been doing since independence.

Kanwaljeet May 22, 2013 01:08pm

they are making fool, my bro. China can not be your friend. They are using India since they are wary of US and they are using Pakistan since they are wary of India. Have you forgotten how they dumped you in 1971- Bangladesh. they will do the same in 20xx-baluchistan. Be ware

Hassan Akbar May 22, 2013 01:21pm

I wonder whether China is friend to any single political party or to the State of Pakistan?

Shakeel May 22, 2013 01:31pm

This friendship won't last forever if Pakistan doesn't get it's house in order. China is an aspiring superpower, it wants influence around the world, it can only get sustained influence through stable, strong allies, not through dictatorships and fragile economies it props up (like N.Korea). Take the example of the USA , for all their ills, and despite all the underhand tactics they use to prop up dictators, their strongest allies are stable nations, Canada, UK, Australia, European nations etc. China is seeking similar allies in the east, we have the opportunity to become one of those allies, lets not waste it.

Reader May 22, 2013 01:39pm

Why is Zardari present in photos? His job is ceremonial but yet Pakistanis allow him to take the lead thus giving him more publicity. Does the British Queen or for that matter other countries with similar type of govts have their presidents appear on any posters when the head of state visits? No. So why Pakistan?

Khayyam May 22, 2013 01:53pm

We appreciate the initiation of different projects in Pakistan by Chinese government but we people of Pakistan know little about the intentions behind this. Look I am not against it but reports should be made available to public about the benefits which Pakistan is going to have from these projects and also what in return China will have. And being our closest ally what help they are offering to build our indigenous thinking about our own environment/country. Secondly it is very important and need of the time to build good relations with neighboring countries as it will help in prolong peace and prosperity in our region.

kunal May 22, 2013 02:02pm

@Shakeel: Well said Shakeel.. Albeit I am not absolutely aware of the ground realities in Pakistan; however, I am assuming, the political environment, socio-economic filip and country as a whole could definetely do better.. Pardon my assumption if its not true.. I do honestly think, China, India and Pakistan have a huge role to play at least in the asia pacific region but before that all the 3 countries need to prop up their houses.. Lets hope and pray that we will live to see that day.. May be god will listen to our collective prayers:-)

Pak May 22, 2013 02:10pm

@Kanwaljeet: and what they to India ,keep the china army inside India for 20 kms and they dnt know. Its sure every 1 can be our friend except 2 countries....

Pak May 22, 2013 02:12pm

@Malik An

India artifical ecomony is sulmped..hahah

infavor of universal brotherhood ! May 22, 2013 02:27pm

@Rahimuddin: allah wont help until you help yourself.!!!

To all Pakistanis .. Be the change that you wish to see in the world.!!!

r.s.soni May 22, 2013 02:30pm

sir, in haryana, india, china have supplied machinery and equipment for coal fired power plants.all the units are out of action since inception. reason defective rotors. these rotors ca not be repaired due to defective design and manufacture. chinese inspectors have passed them , god knows how.? these power plants are defect prone. it takes lotof time in finalising the terms of repairs. throughput time for repairs by chinese repair is 9 months to 15 months.please doin't go for chinese power haryana they installed one sugar mill, that remained defective for two years since it was see your railways, china is responsible for it by supplying defective engines. china is good in space docking but not in power plants. please beware of them if you fix up for power plants with china thenyou will be wasting national resources without any significant achievement.

bilawal ali hanjra May 22, 2013 02:30pm

Entire world knows that china is all weather friend of pakistan and our friendship is deeper than oceans and higher than himalyas.whether it is matter of nuclear energy,investment or providing of modern jets china has never let pakistan lagging behind other nations.However we should bear in mind that nothing is permanent in international relations but personal interests.

Qudsi May 22, 2013 02:30pm

Pakistan has strategic importance. USA and China spends money on Pakistan because of its importance. The india on other side has no such strategic importance but they are used to get jealous of us. Read comments in times of india youll come to know what indians thinks about Sino-Pak friendship.

Mahmood May 22, 2013 02:31pm

@Kanwaljeet: 'A day dreamer'

GL May 22, 2013 02:36pm

As they say - show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. China's only friends in the region are North Korea, Pakistan and Myanmar (that too the former dictatorship in Myanmar - now that Myanmar is opening up to the outside world - they are no longer keen on China and cancelled a major hydro project with China etc). That says everything you need to know about China.... :)

Ashfaq May 22, 2013 02:41pm

Hopefully Mr. Nawaz Sharif, probable forthcoming prime minister of Pakistan, will take the Chines prime minister's offer seriously. We had witnessed the same offer when the CEO of the three gorgeous dam of China visited last year. The then government was busy making illegal money from the energy contracts in the southern hemisphere.

saylani May 22, 2013 02:46pm

Pak Chin Dosti Zindabad

Abd May 22, 2013 02:54pm

Chines are our trusted friends and can help us to come out of darkness of Load shedding. If Govader port is built there are considerable Oil reservoirs in waters of Gowader according to US documents captured from Tehran -Iran embassy.China may explore it and may use it for its energy demands. a lot of possibilities are lying ahead of cooperation

Shahid May 22, 2013 02:57pm

Need of the hour is a strong working relationship between India and Pakistan.

Richard May 22, 2013 02:57pm

China needs Pakistan, Pakistan needs China. They are iron brothers!

Mujtaba May 22, 2013 02:58pm

@Reader: what's wrong with that? He is President of Pakistan not President of India. What is bothering you.

najam May 22, 2013 03:14pm

this is good but only if our leaders take it in account

Alan May 22, 2013 03:23pm

@Pak: Some time I come to just to refresh my self from heavy working day....It really lightens my mood and make me giggle.... a country of failed economy of 240 Billion dollar and 13th Ranked in list of international list of failed nation talking about artificial economy of India (1.824 Trillion dollar). Your all weather frend came to India first for bilateral relations. Relation with India means business and relation with Pakistan means charity donations!!

MSA May 22, 2013 03:38pm

@Reader: Pakistan is neither a democracy nor a kingdom - nobody knows what it is.

MSA May 22, 2013 03:47pm

@Rahimuddin: Good wish, but why bother God for things that we can do ourselves. Remember, "God helps those who help themselves".

Arif Aslam Khan May 22, 2013 03:55pm

@Reader:Please do not compare Pakistan with those developed Nations, just look at the problems we are facing today and China is the only Country in World which is always willing to help us....I believe we did not loose any thing if President was there to welcome our Chinese guest.

Khalid May 22, 2013 04:01pm

@Qudsi: You and your comment are typical of what we desparately want to believe is the case. My dear friend, Pakistan is the least important country strategically and otherwise not only in the region but worldwide. As a nation, we are desparately poor, have for all practical purposes a failed education system our economy is destroyed and our perception as a nation has never been lower. Please wake up and stop deluding yourself. We are NOT important. By the way, the day we start believing that we are not important, we might begin to take steps to make our country a respected nation.

a.k.lal May 22, 2013 04:02pm

@GL: good observation

Ahmed May 22, 2013 04:13pm

@GL: You are obviously an Indian, since this is the type of comment I have seen plenty of from Indians on the internet. Your comment is totally inaccurate because in fact the whole world recognizes China as the nation to do business with and would welcome the Chinese premier's visit as much as Pakistan did. The small-hearted nature of your comment therefore says nothing about China but a lot of individuals like you in India.

shayar badnam May 22, 2013 04:19pm

@Qudsi: pakistan really needs think tank like u ;)

Khalid May 22, 2013 04:21pm

@Pak: Your comment shows your immeturity. India and Indians are respected around the globe because of what they have been able to achieve in the last 20 years, economically and otherwise. On the other hand, tell me one thing that Pakistan has done better than India (apart from becoming experts in killing innocent people, snatching mobile phones & cars and robberies). Please wake up before it is too late.

Raj May 22, 2013 04:33pm

@GL: Have you forgotten brotherly nations of Muslim Ummah (OIC)? They have been helping Pakistan all these days.

Maheshwari May 22, 2013 04:46pm


Being the head of the state, Mr. Zardari must be present. This is not about politics, but the honor and respect for Chinese PM. This is what all monarchs around the globe do!

Rafi May 22, 2013 04:52pm

Pakistan is a 7th Nuclear power in the world and having one of the strongest standing armies in the world. So What else china needs if she is looking for a strong allies in the region. India is very small compare to China so I don't think India is the main reason for Pak China friendship. China is looking for global influence now and is a emerging super power so India should stop thinking wishfully to compete with China. They should better remain at the level of Pakistan and continue competing for resources and more land with Pakistan. The only thing they can get is humiliation if they tried to face china for any issue and tried to resolve any issue by force with China. Pakistan can very easily deal India in terms of defence so China does not need to worry about India, its Pakistan's business to handle this country. China will think more globally being an emerging super power.

Gohar May 22, 2013 04:54pm

@Kanwaljeet: The whole doesnt revolve around your warped perceptions. Pakistan and China's relationship is independent and in line with the foreign policies of both countries. We share strategic and regional interests.

Jatt May 22, 2013 06:30pm

@Qudsi:What strategic importance does Pakistan have,please do explain specifically instead of being so vague.

Shashank Shekhar May 22, 2013 06:45pm

Wonder whether its immaturity or sheer ignorance among those who've commented. Words like 'Friendship deeper than ocean and higher than himalayas' etc are just phrases coined by the respective governments' spin doctors. Facts: (1) Pakistan and China benefit mutually with each other by their side (vis-a-vis India) and thus the friendship is bound to flourish. (2) China is on its way of becoming a global power but still cannot afford to back Pakistan in its adventures against India be it money or military backup. (3) Readers generally are in the habit of commenting with rhetorics but the fact remains that however fragile the situation of the sub-continent is, it is in the interest of India, China and Pakistan to maintain a peaceful atmosphere and concentrate on economic reforms and education rather than spending money in useless wars as the boundaries have remained the same since 1947. China may be ahead but it still has a huge chunk of poor people which the state-controlled media doesn't show. (4) Pakistan (hopefully) has finally got onto the right path with the recently concluded elections but China remains a Communist bastion. How long will that last in China, we still have to see but dictatorship was and is never a good thing for any nation even though you may be growing economically. At the end, dialogues will continue, pacts goes on...

fauz May 22, 2013 07:13pm

@Reader: You are right, Protocol is never followed in Pakistan. But you know, here might is right. Better if we convert to Presidential form of Govt like USA. In the past 5 years, Zardari had made several foreign trips for enjoyment to attend meetings whereas the Prime Minister should have been there. In the airport welcome picture you can very well see the background with Khosa as dummy with no importance. I think the chinese premier visit is untimely. China is next door neighbor. He should have waited till next gov is sworn for next 5 years.

Syed May 22, 2013 07:24pm

@GL: I bet this comment is coming from India..

HNY13 May 22, 2013 07:25pm

@Qudsi: That is why Indo-China trade is four times that of Pak China. And you guys forgot about the chinese guy who threw the holy Quran and the mob attacked him? Will he go scot free or has that been hushed up

Syed May 22, 2013 07:27pm

@Rahimuddin: Really wonder who and from which country would put so many thumbs down on such a positive comment.

HNY13 May 22, 2013 07:28pm

Jump to three years from now (2015), India will have a trade of 100billion while Pakistan will have a trade of 15 billion. In present world order economy is the measure of any relationship.

Deep May 22, 2013 07:53pm

Nothing worth is their praising in Pakistan nor Pakistan has done some extrodinary thing to praise, so the Chinese premier thought of praising their ties.......

abid May 22, 2013 08:02pm

Pakistan China relationships are very stronger in South Asia Pakistani government also trying to improve more relationship with china through business at that time pakistan facing power crises & china also offered pakistan to buy electricity. Now pakistan should buy electricity from china.

ali May 22, 2013 08:10pm

@Reader: she along with the royal family, gets enough coverage on the news. In fact it is too much sometimes !!

Dinesh May 22, 2013 08:19pm

''higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey''. ....... ha ha ha . really funny my erstwhile cousins.

Mohammed Shafiq May 22, 2013 08:31pm

When you are a close friend and neighbor of the strongest country in the world, Others will envy you! But you will be the strongest friend of the Superpower.. Long live friendship and brotherhood of China and Pakistan.

zaheer May 22, 2013 08:47pm

@Malik Anujq: And Soviet Union before that.

from Odisha India May 23, 2013 03:55am

@bilawal ali hanjra:

Dream on....

The total investment in Pakistan from come-rain-or-shine friend China is a meagre $0.8 billion, which is almost half of that from tiny Netherlands ($1.5 billion) or less than 10% of the USA ($7.7 billion). In return, Pakistan is practically donating an entire Gwadar port to all-weather friend China, not to mention so many non-competitive contracts that are more lucrative to China than Pakistan.

The Chinese premier Li Keqiang visited not-so-friendly India BEFORE all-weather-ally Pakistan. Keqiang also spend THREE days in India but only TWO in Pakistan.

But then, what's there to lose from dreaming, right?

from Odisha India May 23, 2013 04:10am


The US invested $7.7 billion in Pakistan (mostly low interest aid) while only $0.8 came from "best friend" China. Even tiny Netherlands gives almost twice as much as China, and again, mostly as economic aid. China gives African nations much more than it does to Pakistan, which is a pittance, even by impoverished Pakistani standards! Gwadar port is of much strategic importance to China (access to the Indian ocean) and China has obtained huge non-competitive contracts from Pakistan. (just imagine the uproar if the 'Great-Satan' US had started building Gwadar port instead!)

In spite of Pakistanis bending over backward, Li Keqiang visited India before Pakistan, and spend 3 days there but only 2 in Pakistan!

Frankly, Pakistan has hardly any global friends.

Maymar May 24, 2013 01:48am

@from Odisha India: Chinese PM " To love China is to love Pakistan"

Dilawer May 22, 2013 06:36am
The timing of Chinese PM to visit Pakistan could not come at a worse time. The interim PM and the departing President of Pakistan have no stake in the future of Pakistan. It is sad that the people who will be talking with Chinese officials do not even have the skills or understanding of gravity of Chinese PM's influence in regional and global politics.
MA May 22, 2013 06:38am
I am sure his visit to India was fruitful, he only came to Pakistan for some fun and friendship songs.
Shah May 22, 2013 06:40am
Nishan-i-Pakistan became a joke after it was "awarded" to the US Vice President. That must have been a confirmation on the good work the US government and CIA is doing with their drone program in Pakistan.
Muhammad May 22, 2013 06:46am
Proud to be relations with China. Welcome from Heart