Pakistani Ambassador to China Massod Khan
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will pay a three-day visit to Pakistan in the coming days.
Ahead of this trip, Pakistani Ambassador to China Masood Khan said he believes Wen's visit will further consolidate the "political solidarity" between the two countries and raise economic cooperation to a higher level.
"Many changes have taken place in both Pakistan and China since the two countries established diplomatic ties 60 years ago. Our friendship has remained unaffected by these changes, and our ties have soared to new heights with every passing year," Khan said in a recent interview with the Global Times. "The most important thing we have achieved over this period is the complete political reliability between our sides."
Khan attributed such a solid friendship to the mutual trust and respect existing between Beijing and Islamabad.
Khan said that this solidarity has brought about good results in defense and military cooperation between China and Pakistan. "The two armed forces have been cooperating very well in the fields of military industrial production and joint training." In November, the Global Times reported that the Pakistani Air Force (PAF) would buy Chinese avionics and missiles to equip its 250 JF-17 Thunder jet fighter fleet.
The trade volume between China and Pakistan from January to September totaled $6.22 billion, up 29.9 percent from last year.
"Pakistan and China have realized their economic relations are not as strong as their political ties. But both sides are trying to upgrade economic and trade ties," Khan said. "We have already established a joint free-trade commission, and we launched a five-year development program in 2006 to strengthen such relations."
Optimistic about the future of bilateral relations, Khan said that "our two countries have been doing business for centuries, and our leaders now have the vision to sustain such a tradition by enhancing our economic activities."
Concerning the easing of clearance procedures on goods governed by China and Pakistan's free-trade agreement, the ambassador suggested that an efficient electric data interchange system be developed.
On regional issues, Khan said Pakistan expects China to play a bigger role in promoting peace and stability, especially in facilitating dialogues between Pakistan and its neighbor, India. "We hope China will, over time, be able to persuade India to have sustainable dialogues with Pakistan for the resolution of all outstanding issues, including Kashmir."