Chinese premier lauds Pakistani efforts against terrorism

Sunday, December 19, 2010

ISLAMABAD - Chinese premier Wen Jiabao Sunday praised Pakistan’s struggle against terrorism and called on the world to support the Islamic country in its efforts for economic development.

“Pakistan has offered significant sacrifices and played an important role in the international efforts against terrorism,” Wen told a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament.

“It’s a reality and the international community should fully acknowledge it,” Wen said. “Terrorism should not be linked to a particular country or religion.”

More than 150,000 soldiers are trying to regain control of its mountainous tribal region bordering Afghanistan from Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked militants.

In retaliation, Islamist insurgents have killed thousands of Pakistani troops and civilians in retaliatory attacks since 2001.

But the US government has often criticized Pakistan for not doing enough to root out the insurgents from the border areas.

Wen stressed the need to address “the root causes of terrorism” as the world fights against the menace. “There should not be double standards in this regard,” he warned.

The Chinese premier said Pakistan was facing many challenges, but he hoped that Pakistanis will overcome their difficulties.

Wen’s visit, first by a Chinese prime minister in five years, was mainly focused on enhancing mutual trade.

Officials and business leaders of the two countries signed trade, business and development agreements worth more $30 billion.

Pakistan considers China as a close ally and relies heavily on it to resurrect its economy crippled by years of insurgency.

“It is our mutual strategic choice to strengthen and promote all-weather, brotherly relations between China and Pakistan,” Wen said. “We will closely cooperate on regional and international issues. Pakistan is a major country in South Asia and Pakistan has significant influence in the Muslim world.”

China pledged to help Islamabad develop projects to meet some of its energy requirements. Pakistan has severe shortages of electricity and natural gas, impairing its manufacturing sector.

Officials of both countries also held talks on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Pakistan’s central province of Punjab.

Beijing is supporting Pakistan in reconstruction projects in the areas hit by the worst floods of its 63-year history.

More than two million people were affected and one-fifth of the country covered by floods that claimed about 2,000 lives.

Pakistan and China have been traditionally major allies against India, another Asian rising economy and regional power.

China has also tried to boost economic ties with India, putting aside diplomatic differences during Wen’s visit to New Delhi before arriving in Pakistan, but the strategic partnership with Islamabad remains important, analysts said.

Filed under: Diplomacy

will not be displayed