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His Excellency Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China will be paying an official visit to Pakistan from 22-23 May 2013. High Level visits are the hallmark of Pak-China bilateral relations. Former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Pakistan in December 2010. Mr. Li Changchun, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC visited Pakistan in October 2012 and Chinese Foreign Minister Mr. Yang Jiechi, who is now State Councilor, visited Pakistan in May 2012. A number of high level visits including that of the President and the Prime Ministers have taken place from Pakistan side in the last few years.

It is the first visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Pakistan after becoming the Premier of the People’s Republic of China. The visit takes place immediately after the democratic elections in Pakistan. It will provide an opportunity to Premier Li to meet the new political leadership in Pakistan. Premier Li Keqiang’s visit will also provide further impetus to our strategic cooperation. The friendly ties and the friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

The Chinese Premier will be accompanied by a high powered delegation which includes Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi, Mr. Gao Hucheng, Minister for Commerce and Mr. Xu Shaoshi, Chairman of National Development Reform Commission, high ranking officials and leaders of corporate sector. After his arrival on 22nd May, the Chinese Premier will meet President Asif Ali Zardari who will host a luncheon for him at the Presidency. The Chinese Premier will hold talks with the President and the Prime Minister after which there will be a joint press stakeout. The Prime Minister will host a banquet for the Chinese Premier in the evening. The Chinese Premier will also be conferred upon the highest award of Nishan-e-Pakistan.

Besides having bilateral meetings with the President and the Prime Minister, Premier Li Keqiang will hold a joint meeting with the Chairman Senate and Speaker National Assembly and also address the Senate of Pakistan. Leaders of the political parties will also meet the Chinese Premier.

On 23rd May, President of Pakistan Muslim League (N), Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif will call on him. Premier Li Keqiang will also visit the Pakistan-China friendship Centre along-with the Prime Minister of Pakistan and meet with Pakistani friends who have played a role in promoting Pakistan-China relations. He will also plant a tree at Shakarparian.

Pakistan and China are “all weather” friends. Their traditional and friendly cooperative ties are based on shared principles and mutual interests entailing cooperation in diverse fields. Both countries hold identical views on important world issues and cooperate at international forums. At the popular level in both countries, there is strong resonance of the long and rich history of close and cordial ties.

Economic cooperation between Pakistan and China has expanded significantly in recent years. The bilateral trade between Pakistan and China in 2012 crossed the figure of US$ 12 billion for the first time. Both sides are committed to achieve a trade target of US$ 15 billion in the next two-three years. Several major energy and infrastructure development projects are being executed in Pakistan with Chinese assistance. More than 120 Chinese companies are engaged in economic activity in Pakistan and Chinese investment reached the figure of US $ 2 billion by 2012.

Many important Agreements and MoUs in the fields of economy, Science and Technology, Space & Upper Atmosphere communication and energy would be signed during the visit of the Chinese Premier.All these and other agreements are aimed at further strengthening our bilateral relations and improving the wellbeing of the two people.

Premier Li Keqiang’s visit will mark yet another important step forward in reinforcing the strategic partnership between the two countries and open up new avenues for bilateral cooperation.

May 21, 2013

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