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President Asif Ali Zardari. — File Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has called for taking Pak-China trade, investment and defence ties to new heights as time-tested friendship between the two countries has already matured into a comprehensive strategic partnership.

“Strengthening and further cementing cooperation with China in all areas is and will remain the key principles guiding Pakistan’s foreign policy,” said President Zardari during a one-to-one meeting and later delegation-level talks with Mr Li Changchen, Member of the Standing Committee of Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee, at the presidency on Wednesday.

Mr Zardari said China had become a beacon of hope for developing countries and it was a great source of inspiration.

He said that Pak-China friendship was rooted in a shared history and cultural heritage and had stood the test of time.

“Our relations are multi-dimensional and are without parallel in the contemporary era of inter-state relations,” the president remarked.

Presidency’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that Mr Li Changchen conveyed the sentiments of top leadership to the president and said regardless of changes at regional and international level China-Pakistan friendship would continue and grow from strength to strength.

He said China recognised and appreciated the huge human and material sacrifices Pakistan had made in the fight against extremism and said that China would continue to support Pakistan in it.

The spokesperson said the president emphasised the need to strengthen strategic relationship with China to cope with the challenges on regional and international fronts.

He said Pakistan was eager to enhance trade relations with China to the maximum possible extent.

He said it was a matter of great satisfaction that economic and trade relations were following an upward trajectory.

The spokesperson said that Mr Li Changchen, on behalf of Communist Party of China, invited PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to visit China by the end of the year.—APP

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