Pakistan, China sign 15 agreements, MoUs on bilateral cooperation

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In his talks with President Xi, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his government was keen to learn from China's experience in poverty alleviation and anti-corruption, adding that he had followed President Xi as a statesman during his political career spanning over 22 years.

Nevertheless, China insisted it would not let Pakistan down.

The visit is aimed at ironing out differences between the two countries over the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Islamabad approaching "friendly nations" to avoid a tough International Monetary Fund bailout package.

"China has always placed Pakistan as a diplomatic priority for China, supported Pakistan's safeguarding of national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and supported the new Pakistani government's smooth running of the government and advancement of national construction", the Chinese President said.

The Prime Minister said CPEC was going in stages including roads, development of Gwadar, which was the second deepest port after Singapore, and some power projects that became part of CPEC.

China maintains that the Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan through dialogue and consultation.

China's stand he said is that the "cooperation between China and Pakistan has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and will not affect China's principled position on Kashmir", he said.

He said his government and party wanted to learn from China in this area because white-collar crime was very hard to detect.

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Other countries, including Malaysia, have also pulled back on Chinese-funded projects related to the Belt and Road initiative, and much concern has been raised over the case of Sri Lanka.

In a meeting with Chinese IDCPC Minister Song Tao in Beijing, he said such exchanges would ensure that the exceptional friendship between Pakistan and China endured from generation to generation.

Mr Khan's visit to China will provide an "opportunity" for the two countries to open a "new chapter" of bilateral relations "under the new circumstances", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Monday.

Both sides also held a delegation-level meeting.

The two sides underscored the importance of the Pak-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership for a shared future.

Khan is being accompanied on his visit by several senior government officials, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, commerce and trade adviser Abdul Razzak Dawood and Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed. The CPEC has also become a major irritant in India-China relations with New Delhi voicing its opposition to the infrastructure project as it traverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Earlier, President Xi warmly welcomed Prime Minister Khan and his delegation upon their arrival at the Great Hall of the People.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (R) and China´s Premier Li Keqiang attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

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