Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for photos before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Saturday.
China to invest about $46 billion in energy, infrastructure
“Iron friends” China and Pakistan on Saturday inked 20 agreements amounting to Chinese investment reportedly worth about $46 billion, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held wide-ranging talks with the leadership here.
Mr. Sharif, who is here to take part in the neighbourhood leaders conference being organised by China on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting, held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.
Terming China and Pakistan as “iron friends”, Mr. Xi, who cancelled his to visit to Islamabad during his South Asia tour in September due to tense confrontation between the government and the opposition parties in Islamabad, told Mr. Sharif that the two countries will continue to support each other and strengthen cooperation.
“Iron friends” is a term frequently used in China to mean trustworthy friends whose friendship is as solid as iron.
Some Chinese netizens have coined the phrase of “Iron Paks” to refer to Pakistanis, Mr. Xi was quoted as telling Mr. Sharif.
Besides issues related to China’s concerns over terrorist attacks in Xinjiang with militants infiltration from across the border in Pakistan, the two leaders discussed the emerging situation in Afghanistan in view of the U.S. plans to pullout its troops from the war-torn country, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
China looks to play a bigger role in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the U.S. troops withdrawal.
Mr. Sharif said Pakistan will strengthen cooperation with China in building infrastructure and crackdown on terrorist forces such as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which is blamed for terrorist attacks in Xinjiang bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK).
China has been pressing Pakistan to crackdown on ETIM militants.