Wednesday, Nov 05, 2003
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By P.S. Suryanarayana
The Chinese President, Hu Jintao, told Gen. Musharraf that Beijing would continue to play a "constructive role" in promoting peace as also security and stability in South Asia.
According to China's official version of the talks between the two leaders, Mr. Hu underlined how the Sino-Pakistani engagement was based on "mutual trust and support" despite the changes on the international scene.
Gen. Musharraf, who addressed the students and faculty of the Peking University during his visit, reiterated Pakistan's views on India and the Kashmir issue. As at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) conference in China's Hainan province two days ago, he identified Kashmir and Palestine as potentially explosive issues.
On the Sino-Pakistan front, the two sides signed a sheaf of documents, including a joint declaration on the future direction of bilateral interactions. The other agreements included those relating to tariff cuts and an expansion of China's mining operations in Pakistan. While the navies of the two countries had conducted joint exercises, the first for China's Navy with any foreign counterpart, ahead of Gen. Musharraf's visit to Beijing at this time, the issue of nuclear energy cooperation remained in focus, too.
Mr. Hu and Gen. Musharraf pledged to combat Muslim separatist tendencies in China's Xinjiang province, with the latter affirming that his country would never allow any forces, including the "East Turkistan" terrorist campaigners, to use Pakistani territory for anti-China activities. The two leaders vowed to fight extremism, ethnic separatism and terrorism, described as the three forces of evil.
Western diplomats and scholars liken China's strategic links with Pakistan to those between the United States and Israel in terms of the depth and durability of such ties. Outlining, however, a comprehensive partnership with Pakistan, Mr. Hu informed Gen. Musharraf of a four-point plan of action for a sustainable bilateral relationship.
The four aspects were the continuation of high level contacts, the strengthening of mutually-beneficial cooperation in fields ranging from economy and trade to science and technology, the deepening of links to address non-traditional security concerns, and the efforts to coordinate their policies on regional and larger international affairs.
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