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China holds Pakistan in high esteem: Lu Shulin

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  8. FACTS

Chinese people are ready to join Pakistani counterparts to set up all-round cooperative partnerships

From Shamim Ahmed Rizvi, Islamabad
Sep 20 - 27, 1999

The Chinese ambassador in Pakistan, Mr. Lu Shulin, who launched the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the founding of People's Republic of China, told Pakistani journalists and mediamen at the embassy on Friday evening that his government and the people highly value the traditional friendship with Pakistan and are ready to join the Pakistani counterparts in establishing an all-round cooperative partnerships, oriented towards the 21st century.

"It is a firmly set policy for China to further consolidate and develop our friendship and cooperation. This policy will never change. China, as always, remains a most reliable friend to Pakistan", he stressed.

The ambassador, who launched the 50th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution by holding a reception, proposed to hold other functions during the month. In his brief address on the occasion, the ambassador spoke of his country's progress in diverse fields, particularly dramatic growth after opening its economy 20 years back, and political objective of re-unification of China with the return of Hong Kong in 1997 and of Macao joining the mainland in December this year.

He stressed that the basic policies of his government towards Macao are "one country, two systems". "Macao people government Macao" and "a high degree of autonomy". He expected that the final settlement of the Taiwan question by following the policy of "peaceful re-unification one country, two systems" policy.

Highlighting the remarkable achievements of China in the economic field Mr. Lu said China's economy has been growing at an annual rate of 7.7 per cent, more than double of world's average of 3 per cent. World Bank reports showed that China ranked seventh in the world in terms of total economic volume in 1997. Agriculture has been growing at an average rate of 3.3 per cent value addition in agriculture rising from 34 billion yuan last year. Industry achieved an average growth rate of 11.6 per cent, value addition in industry rose from 11.98 billion yuan in 1952 to over 3,345.1 billion yuan last year.

Volume of foreign trade increased 286 times from US$ 1.13 billion in 1950 to US$ 323.9 billion in 1998, at an average rate of 12.5 per cent. The GDP in first six months of the year reached 3,618.9 billion yuan up by 7.6 per cent over the same period of the last year. The volume of imports and exports in first seven months amounted to US$ 11.3 billion in China's favour. By the end of June, China's foreign exchange reserves stood at US $ 150 billion.

Continuing, the Chinese ambassador said that to carry forward its reform and opening-up and modernization drive, China needs both a long term stable domestic environment and a sustained stable and peaceful international environment. China will firmly stick to its independent foreign policy of peace, and on the basis of the Five Principals of Peaceful Coexistence, establish and develop friendly and cooperative relations with all nations. China pays special attention to persisting in its policy of good-neighbourly relationship to have a favourable surrounding situation. This conforms not only to fundamental interests of the Chinese people, but also to the peace and development in Asia and the whole world at large. China is resolutely opposed to hegemony in whatever forms, and will always be an important force to safeguard global and regional stability. The Chinese government and people would like to make contributions, along with the international community, to the establishment of a new international political and economical order of peace, stability and justice, and to the promotion of the noble cause of world peace and development.

Talking about Pak-China relations, Lu said that the two countries were linked by time tested cultural exchanges and friendly contacts. Sino-Pak relations have enjoyed an all-round growth and bilateral cooperation based on mutual benefit, producing fruitful results.

Our two nations have regarded each other as friends in need and brothers bound by common fate always extending sympathy and support to each other.

He further observed that the high-level exchanges between the two countries this year of Li Peng, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress, Chi Haotian, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission and Defence Minister and of Pakistani leaders, the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz and heads of armed forces have greatly promoted development and consolidation of friendly relations and cooperation.

He hoped that it would be further consolidated in the next millennium and that China would, "as always, remain a most reliable friend to Pakistan".