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India and Pakistan are China's important neighbors

Chinese Foreign Ministry held a Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media on Premier Wen Jiabao's Official Visit to India and Pakistan

Premier Wen Jiabao will officially visit India and Pakistan from December 15 to 19, 2010. The Foreign Ministry held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media on December 13. Hu Zhengyue, Assistant Foreign Minister, Liang Wentao, Deputy Director General of the Department of Asian Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Li Hong, Deputy Director General of the Bureau of External Cultural Relations at the Ministry of Culture introduced the background, main activities and significance of Premier Wen’s visit and answered questions of journalists. Tian Qi, Deputy Director-General of the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry chaired the briefing at which nearly 100 Chinese and foreign journalists were present.

I. Official Visit to India

Hu said China and India are important neighbors to each other and major emerging developing countries. China-India relations are one of the most important bilateral relations of both countries. Leaders of China and India agree there has enough space in the world for the common development of the two countries and enough areas for China-India cooperation. The bilateral friendship from generation to generation, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development benefit not only the two countries and their people but also peace, stability and prosperity of Asia and the world at large.

He noted China-India relations, with the concerted efforts of both sides, have maintained the momentum of healthy and stable development in recent years. The two countries keep frequent high-level exchanges of visit during which leaders of both sides exchanged in-depth views on the bilateral relations and issues of common concern. The bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields continue expanding. China is India’s largest trade partner. The bilateral trade volume increased from US.7 billion in 2005 to US.8 billion in 2008 and is expected to reach the target of US billion this year. Cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries have gained further development. China and India maintain sound communication and coordination on such major international and regional issues as the reform of the international financial system, coping with climate change, energy and food security and have cooperated closely under the multilateral mechanisms of G20 and BRIC and the China-India-Russia cooperation framework.

He indicated Premier Wen’s visit is a major event of China-India relations. Premier Wen will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Singh, meet with Indian President Patil and President of the Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi, make key policy remarks on China-India relations, attend a series of friendly exchange activities and join the celebrations on the 60th anniversary of China-India diplomatic ties. China has the following expectations on the visit: to strengthen bilateral high-level exchanges, increase strategic mutual trust and consolidate consensus politically; to broaden bilateral trade, enhance mutual investment and cooperation on infrastructure construction, learn more development experience from each other, complement each other with advantages and realize win-win development economically; boost personnel exchanges, build up mutual understanding, consolidate the public opinion foundation and pass on China-India friendship from generation to generation from the cultural perspective; reinforce coordination and communication in international and regional affairs and contribute positively to maintaining regional and international peace and stability and promoting common development. The two sides are discussing the signing of a number of bilateral governmental and departmental cooperation documents. Premier Wen’s visit will achieve positive and major results with the joint efforts from both sides.

Liang introduced the progress of China-India economic and trade cooperation. He said China-India economic and trade cooperation enjoys great potential. China is India’s biggest import origin and third largest export market while India is China’s ninth biggest trade partner. The bilateral cooperation on such infrastructure as power, communication and transport has become bight spots of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. India has become one of China’s largest overseas project contracting markets. The rapidly growing China-India mutual investment has reached to the high-tech fields including software, medicine and mechanics. During Premier Wen’s visit to India, a China-India business cooperation summit will be held, China will send a trade and investment promotion delegation there and businesses of both countries will sign a number of economic and trade cooperation agreements.

Li talked about China-India cultural cooperation. She mentioned this year marks the 60th anniversary of China-India diplomatic ties. During the visit, leaders of both sides will jointly attend the celebrations on the anniversary and the closing ceremony of China Festival which will further boost the bilateral cultural exchanges and partnership. The two sides will sign the 2010-2012 Cultural Cooperation Action Plan between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of India, covering multiple areas such as culture, art, cultural heritage, youth, education, sports, press and mass media. Premier Wen will hold talks with the representatives of Chinese and Indian cultural sectors and discuss the overall prospects of bilateral cultural cooperation based on the history and current state of China-India cultural exchanges, which will create a broad platform for the two countries to enhance cultural understanding and deepen cultural cooperation in the new era.

II. Official Visit to Pakistan

Hu noted Pakistan is China’s important neighbor and strategic partner. The bilateral relations have withstood the tests of the times and fluctuating international situation since the two countries established diplomatic ties 59 years ago and the bilateral friendship has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples.

He said China-Pakistan strategic partnership has developed stably in recent years. The two countries enjoy frequent contacts between their leaders, fruitful economic and trade cooperation and deep growth of cultural and education exchanges. Pakistan encountered unprecedented flood this year and China provided timely and efficient help for Pakistan’s disaster relief and reconstruction. China will continue to offer support and assistance within its own capacity according to the need of Pakistan.

He stressed to develop the strategic partnership between China and Pakistan on an equal and mutually beneficial basis not only serves the fundamental interest of the Chinese and the Pakistani people but also benefits peace, stability and development in the region and the entire world. Next year will be the 60th anniversary of China-Pakistan diplomatic relations and present new opportunities for the development of bilateral ties. The two sides will take the opportunities to expand the friendly exchanges and accelerate the pragmatic cooperation in all fields, reinforce communication and coordination in the international affairs and jointly push forward China-Pakistan relations.

He pointed out Premier Wen will exchange in-depth views with Pakistani leaders in the following aspects: first, to keep the tradition of exchange of high-level visits and step up strategic communication and coordination; second, to support Pakistan’s post-disaster reconstruction and long-term development; third, to broaden and deepen the pragmatic cooperation with mutual benefit; fourth, to strengthen the cultural exchanges and consolidate the public opinion foundation of China-Pakistan friendship; fifth, to enhance the coordination and collaboration on the international and regional issues and maintain common interest. During Premier Wen’s visit to Pakistan, the two sides plan to sign the agreements on the post-disaster reconstruction and cooperation projects. With the concerted efforts of both sides, Premier Wen’s visit will definitely achieve fruitful results and inject new vigor into China-Pakistan strategic partnership.

Liang introduced the steady progress of China-Pakistan economic and trade cooperation. China is Pakistan’s third largest trade partner while Pakistan is China’s largest investment destination and second biggest trade partner in South Asia. Among South Asian countries, Pakistan is the first one recognizing China’s market economy status and building the free trade area with China. The first joint investment firm and first overseas economic cooperation zone of China are both located in Pakistan. During Premier Wen’s visit, a China-Pakistan business cooperation summit will be held, China will send a trade and investment promotion delegation there and businesses of both countries will sign a number of economic and trade cooperation agreements. The visit will stimulate China-Pakistan pragmatic cooperation and raise the bilateral economic and trade cooperation to a higher level.

Li said the two sides will, during the visit, hold the handover ceremony of Pakistan-China friendship center which is built with the assistance of China and a Mo Yun He Feng – Chinese Ink Painting Exhibition in which the works of Chinese painting masters will be displayed. The two countries will officially sign the Memorandum of Understanding on the Mutual Establishment of Cultural Centers between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

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