Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari (C) arrives at Beijing's international airport on June 5, 2012. Zardari is visiting China for a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a Central Asian grouping headed by Beijing and Moscow and intended as a counterweight to US influence in the region.  AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari (C) arrives at Beijing's international airport on June 5, 2012. Zardari is visiting China for a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a Central Asian grouping headed by Beijing and Moscow and intended as a counterweight to US influence in the region.      — AFP PHOTO

BEIJING: President Asif Ali Zardari would emphasise on full membership of Pakistan in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) during the two-day meeting of the regional grouping starting from here on Wednesday.

President Asif Ali Zardari arrived here on Tuesday to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit and to hold bilateral meetings with the Chinese leadership.

President Zardari was accorded a warm welcome at the Beijing Capital International Airport by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ms Fu Ying, Ambassador Masood Khan, senior diplomats from Pakistan Embassy and officials from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The two-day SCO summit will start here on Wednesday.

Pakistan has an observer status in the SCO since 2005 and has been actively participating in its various conferences and events.

President’s Spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar while talking to media about President Zardari’s Beijing visit, said that Pakistan has been actively participating in the SCO and is keen to get its full membership.

President Zardari will strongly advocate Pakistan’s desire to be a full member of the organization, he said.

Lauding the role of SCO in areas of security and economy, Senator Babar said that Pakistan can help the organization to further these objectives.

Besides, representing Pakistan in the SCO, Senator Babar said, President Zardari will hold meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the summit.

Senator Babar said that Zardari would hold meetings with Chinese leadership including President Hu Jintao and Vice-President Xi Jinping on future cooperation in entire spectrum of bilateral relations between the two countries..

This is President Zardari’s 9th visit to China, which illustrates the importance the present government accords to relationship with its trusted friend, he said.

The present visit, he said would provide a new impetus to the all weather and strategic cooperative partnership with China.

Senator Babar said that the upcoming meeting with the Chinese leaders has important significance, as after previous meeting of President Zardari four positive and important developments took place.

He said these developments were currency swap arrangements, launch of PKSAT-R1 (Satellite) last year, launching of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) branches in Pakistan and the second five-year economic cooperation programme initiated this year.

The SCO was founded in Shangahi on June 15, 2001 and currently it has six full members including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Pakistan, Iran, India and Mongolia have observer status.

The current summit would also review applications from Afghanistan for observer status and for Turkey as dialogue partner.

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