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Chinese president to address parliament

April 01, 2015

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President Xi Jinping is expected to arrive in the country on April 10.—AP/File
President Xi Jinping is expected to arrive in the country on April 10.—AP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Chinese president’s long-awaited visit to Pakistan is now likely to materialise with President Xi Jinping expected to arrive in the country on April 10.

Sources say that during the visit, over two dozen memoranda of understanding (MOUs) regarding nuclear power, the Gwadar Port, the Pak-China Economic Corridor (PCEC), energy, trade and investment will be signed by Pakistan and China.

Take a look: Dates for Chinese president’s visit being finalised: Sartaj

Pakistan has been looking forward to the Chinese leader’s visit for the last ten months, but at least two scheduled visits have been postponed during the period.

President Xi will address a joint session of parliament on the second day of his visit, which may be summoned by President Mamnoon Hussain as close as a day before the address, a National Assembly secretariat spokesperson told Dawn. “However, no date has been mentioned by the government,” he said.

Sources say the president is expected to share China’s plans for the future of Pak-China friendship with members of parliament.

Sources said the government hoped to make Mr Xi’s visit to Pakistan a historic one and exhaustive planning was going into showcasing Pakistan’s social and economic potential.

But even as the National Assembly secretariat is busy making arrangements for the Chinese president’s address to a joint session of parliament, no official announcement regarding the visit has been made by the Foreign Office.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam was not available for comment.

Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said on March 10 that the Chinese president’s March visit had been cancelled due to certain domestic engagements. The Chinese president was also expected to attend the Pakistan Day parade on March 23, according to the earlier plan.

The envoy said the Chinese head of state had to attend an ongoing session of parliament in Beijing, which takes place once a year. “It is mandatory for all Chinese leaders to be in the country for the parliamentary session,” he said.

Another visit to Pakistan, in September 2014, had been postponed because of security concerns. 

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2015

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