'China has role in S. Asian peace'

ISLAMABAD, MAY 20. The military ruler of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and the President, Mr. Rafiq Tarar, have reiterated that China had a role to play in the stability and peace in South Asia.

In two separate messages issued to commemorate 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations, both made it a point to note how friendship between Pakistan and China had grown from strength to strength and how they expected it to take a leap in the years to come.

The military government in Pakistan has employed every conceivable adjective in recent weeks to describe the close nature of relations with China. The hyperbole on its ties China reached a new height during the recent visit of the Chinese Prime Minister, Mr. Zhu Rongji, to Islamabad. The chant of `historic' nature of relations between the two countries became so loud that some of the commentators in the Pakistani media deemed it necessary to counsel the Government to get out of the `time wrap' and move on with the times.

In his message today the President said that ``the comprehensive partnership that we have developed between our two countries covers a vast and growing spectrum ranging from the political and defence spheres to the economic and cultural fields and to science and technology. Our close friendship and cooperation has also been a pillar of peace and stability in the region and we will continue working closely together in the pursuit of this objective.

``Our two countries oppose international and regional hegemony and have been striving for a just international political and economic order. We consult each other on international and regional issues and cooperate closely in international fora''.

Echoing the sentiments Gen. Musharraf said that ``a strong partnership between Pakistan and China has been an important factor in the peace and stability of the region. As we develop and reinforce this partnership in the new century, there will also be a positive impact on the peace and stability of South Asia and beyond. We will continue to work with China for durable peace in the region and the world and for the development of a just world order based on international law, equity and Justice.''

The Chief Executive said that as a close neighbour, China has always played a crucial and positive role for the peace and stability of South Asia and this role will remain vital.