Zardari stresses friendship with China

Feb. 3, 2011 at 1:23 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Pakistan's close friendship with China will remain the cornerstone of its foreign policy, President Asif Ali Zardari told Chinese President Hu Jintao.

In a message to his Chinese counterpart on Chinese Lunar New Year, Zardari said China's ascent in the past six decades is a testimony to the wisdom of its leaders and genius of its people. He said Pakistan believes China is a "factor of hope" for the people of the world, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

China has been a close friend of Pakistan for decades. The relationship between the two nuclear powers is referred to as "all-weather" strategic cooperative partners.

In his message, Zardari said China is Pakistan's closest friend and a time tested partner.

"Our close and friendly relations with China have been and will remain the cornerstone of our foreign policy," Zardari said, adding Pakistan has declared 2011 as Year of Pak- China Friendship.

During his visit to Pakistan in December, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted by Chinese official media as saying, "China and Pakistan were, are and will always be good neighbors, good friends, good partners and good brothers."

The Pakistani air force had previously confirmed to China's Global Times its purchase of Chinese avionics and missiles to equip its 250 JF- 17 Thunder jet fighter fleet. The report quoted Pakistani air chief marshal Rao Qamar Suleman as saying pre-purchase evaluations on several other Chinese air defense systems were also under way.

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