Premier Li Keqiang (C) is welcomed by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (L, front) and interim Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso (R, front) upon his arrival in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, May 22, 2013. [Photo by Ma Zhancheng/Xinhua]
ISLAMABAD -- Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Islamabad on May 22 for an official visit to Pakistan, aiming to deepen traditional friendship between the two neighboring countries.
Li’s plane was escorted by six Pakistani Air Force fighter jets when it entered the country’s airspace.
Premier Li was warmly welcomed at the airport by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and interim Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso.
Li, accompanied by Pakistan’s top leaders, inspected the honor guard while a military band played the national anthems of both countries.
In a written statement upon his arrival, Li said that as he began his visit, he brought with him the Chinese people’s friendship to the Pakistani people.
Pakistan, a key Southern Asian country, has made important contributions to peace, stability and development in the region and around the world, Li said.
“China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners,” he said.
Li said that since the establishment of diplomatic relations 62 years ago, China and Pakistan have treated each other with equality and mutual trust in political affairs, enjoyed mutual benefit and all-win results in economic areas, and shown mutual understanding and mutual support on issues concerning their respective core interests.
“It is the consistent policy of the Chinese government to develop a friendly relationship with Pakistan. The Chinese side would firmly consolidate and develop China-Pakistan relations no matter how the international and regional situation changes,” the premier said.
China would as always support Pakistan’s efforts to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity and materialize stability and development in the country, Li added.
Li hoped that, through his visit, the two nations could carry forward their traditional friendship, deepen cooperation and plan for the future.
He was expected to exchange views with the Pakistani leaders over bilateral ties and issues of common concern so as to advance China-Pakistan strategic partnership for cooperation.
During his visit to the Southern Asian nation, Li would meet with Zardari, Khoso, as well as leaders from other political parties, the parliament and the military. He was also to give a speech in the country’s parliament.
A number of cooperation agreements would be signed in such areas as trade, infrastructure and education.
Pakistan is the second stop on Li’s first overseas trip since he assumed the Chinese premiership in March. Li left Mumbai earlier in the day after concluding a visit to India.