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President Asif Ali Zardari. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari telephoned Xi Jinping on Saturday and felicitated him on his election as president by the National People’s Congress.

President Zardari expressed the hope that the time-tested ties between the two countries would grow from strength to strength during the presidency of Mr Jinping and that efforts for passing on the relationship to the new generations would gain momentum.

Presidency’s spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar said the two presidents also discussed bilateral relations and regional situation.

Expressing satisfaction over the bilateral agreement over operations of Gwadar port, President Zardari said the project was expected to open up new opportunities for the peoples of the two countries. He said it would also open a new chapter in ‘regional connectivity’ and trade. He said that Pakistan was eager to promote regional connectivity and trade for socio-economic benefit of the people and for finding regional solutions to regional issues.

Mr Zardari invited President Xi to visit Pakistan on a date of his convenience.

The Chinese president thanked Mr Zardari for his call and felicitations and expressed the hope that Pak-China friendship and multi-faceted mutual cooperation would further be strengthened in the times to come.

He also extended invitation to President Zardari to visit China.

President Zardari said he had visited China nine times since assuming the office and that he looked forward to visiting the country again on dates to be worked out by the foreign offices of the two countries.