Feb 21, 2009

Energy, trade accords with China during Zardari visit

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari left for China on Friday on a four-day official visit during which he will sign a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding on trade, agriculture and energy. This is president’s second visit to China in four months. It is learnt that meetings with his Chinese counterpart and other leaders are not on the schedule of the president’s visit. The president is accompanied by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Adviser on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain, Adviser on Water and Power Kamal Majidullah, Board of Invest chairman Saleem Mandviwala, Foreign Secretary Salman Basheer and chairmen of Wapda and Pakistan Agriculture Research Council. He will visit the province of Hubei, Yichang and Shanghai. Foreign Office spokesman said the president would sign several MoUs and agreements to boost cooperation in trade and services, hydropower generation and other sectors. ‘The visit will provide an opportunity to the two countries to explore avenues of economic cooperation and investment in agriculture, industry and energy sectors.’ He said the president was visiting China at the invitation of the Chinese government. In Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, the president will attend a China-Pakistan agriculture and water resources forum. He will then go to Yichang to see the Three Gorges Dam, the biggest hydropower project in the world. In Shanghai, the president will have an interaction with chairman and chief executive officers of leading Chinese banks and financial institutions to discuss ways of boosting cooperation. The president will also meet intellectuals and scholars from think tanks and universities. He will hold meetings with the governor of Hubei and the mayor of Shanghai. State councillor Dai Bingguo will host a banquet for the president and his delegation. President Zardari will also meet representatives of the Chinese print and electronic media in Hubei and Shanghai. ‘The visit is focussed on strengthening relationships of trust and friendship between the two countries and enhancing mutually-beneficial cooperation in areas of common interest,’ the Foreign Office spokesman said.

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