With eye on aid, Pakistan PM meets Chinese counterpart

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"CPEC in 2013 was just an idea". Now it is on the ground. He thanked the Chinese president, government and the people of China for their warm sentiments towards Pakistan.

China has given us an opportunity to attract investment. "Unfortunately we have inherited a very hard economic situation", Khan said.

Our relationship is multidimensional, said the premier, adding that Pakistan can also learn from how China dealt with its mega metropolis issues like sewerage systems, threats to the environment and pollution.

But while neither leader mentioned economic aid in front of reporters, China's top diplomat guaranteed support from Beijing in a separate meeting with his Pakistani counterpart. Khan had initially vowed to curb borrowing, but has proceeded with projects such as one to build 5 million public housing units and has predicted that Pakistan would soon overcome its economic woes.

Sharing his vision of "Naya Pakistan", the prime minister congratulated Premier Li on successful anti-corruption drive, poverty alleviation, and modernization of China based on innovation and IT.

Following their talks, the two leaders oversaw the signing of several cooperation agreements and memoranda of understanding in the fields of agriculture, poverty reduction, forestry, law enforcement and socioeconomic development.

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For his part, Khan said with the continuous deepening of the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, the relations between the two countries at all levels are becoming stronger.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan and Pakistan Ambassador to China Masood Khalid were also present during the meeting.

The South Asian economy needs to plug a shortfall after foreign exchange reserves plunged more than 40 percent this year, the current account deficit widened and the currency lost a quarter of its value since December.

Pakistan secured a $6 billion rescue package from Saudi Arabia, but Islamabad still needs a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to prevent a balance of payments crisis.

It would be Pakistan´s 13th rescue package from the multilateral lender since the late 1980s.

"Though China is Pakistan's closest ally, Khan's newly elected government has sought to re-think the two countries' signature project, the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which Beijing touts as the flagship infrastructure program in its vast Belt and Road Initiative", Reuters pointed out.

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The heads of Chinese business groups expressed their gratitude for the support offered by Pakistan in hydropower, renewable energy, construction, infrastructure development and other sectors particularly under the CPEC projects.

India's ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale, in a March interview with the Hong Kong-based daily South China Morning Post, had said that if the CPEC meets the norms of an worldwide programme, then New Delhi has no problem.

"There is no change at all".

"It is not targeted against any third party", he said, despite the project passing through PoK.

Asked about the cooperation on counter-terrorism, Kong said: "all areas of cooperation have been covered and we also expressed positive wish for strengthening cooperation".

In a joint statement, which is likely to raise eyebrows in New Delhi, China stated that it appreciated "Pakistan's quest for peace through dialogue, cooperation and negotiation, on the basis of mutual respect and equality, and supports Pakistan's efforts for improvement of Pakistan-India relations and for settlement of outstanding disputes between the two countries".

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