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Updated: December 19, 2010 02:43 IST

Gilani raises Kashmir at banquet for Wen

Anita Joshua
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Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao talk with children during the inauguration ceremony of the Pakistan China Friendship Centre, in Islamabad on Saturday.
AP
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao talk with children during the inauguration ceremony of the Pakistan China Friendship Centre, in Islamabad on Saturday.

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Saturday reiterated Pakistan's desire to strive for a peaceful resolution of all issues with India including “the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute.'' He brought up the K word in his speech at the banquet he hosted for visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

Maintaining that the Pakistan-China relationship is not directed against any country – Mr. Gilani said: “Peace and stability in our region is inextricably linked to the constructive role being played by China.'' Making the reference to Kashmir while asserting Pakistan's desire for a peaceful environment in the region, he went on to add that success in resolving the issue would usher in a new era of peace and prosperity in South Asia.

Describing China as Pakistan's “most trusted and reliable friend,'' the Prime Minister articulated Islamabad's appreciation for Beijing's support on various regional and international issues. He extended Pakistan's support to China on all its core issues; specifically the ‘One China' policy while condemning “any attempt to undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.''

Two days ago, India had refused to include references to Chinese sovereignty in Tibet and ‘One China' in the joint statement that was issued during Mr. Wen's visit to New Delhi. Though references to ‘One China' had been part of the last three summit-level declarations by India and China, New Delhi refused to include it this time in view of China issuing stapled visas to Indians domiciled in J&K.

Trans-border corridor

The two premiers addressed various meetings across the capital where both sides expressed the intent to create a trans-border corridor for trade that would further deepen the relationship which will turn 60 next year. Both sides decided to commemorate 2011 as Friendship Year and the tone for this was set at a meeting of Pakistani and Chinese citizens who have worked to keep this relationship strong at various levels against all odds.

Apart from signing a number of agreements, the business communities of the two countries vowed to boost bilateral trade to $18 billion over the next five years. As for the agreements for bilateral cooperation, they span a cross-section of sectors and regions including Pakistan-occupied Jammu & Kashmir where Chinese firms are already engaged in over 14 development projects including hydro-electric power projects.

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