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Zardari to visit China for nuclear deal

June 29, 2010 18:19 IST

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will commence a high-level visit to China from July 6 during which the two countries will firm up a deal for supply of two new nuclear reactors to Islamabad.

Announcing the visit of Zardari, which comes close on the heels of a tour of China by Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang defended the nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

But, the spokesman parried questions relating to China's plans to build nuclear reactors, saying the move was not aimed at any third country.

The announcement of the Pakistan's President visit comes as US has asked China to clarify the details of the nuclear reactor deal between the two countries. Zardari will arrive on a state visit to China from July 6-11, during which the two countries would firm up their strategic cooperation, including the proposed two nuclear power reactors Beijing plans to build for its all weather friend.

"The civilian nuclear energy cooperation is bilateral and mutually beneficial and it is only between the two countries and not targeting a third country," Qin said, dismissing a question about India's concerns over China's plans to build 650 mw reactors at Chashma in Pakistan's Punjab province.

"During Zardari's visit the two sides will exchange view on further promoting friendly cooperation in various areas," he said. China would "warmly welcome" Pakistan President and look to deepen the strategic cooperation.

During his visit, Zardari will hold talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao. He would meet Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Jia Qinglin, Politburo standing committee Member of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, Qin said.

The two sides will exchange views on concerning bilateral relations, promoting "pragmatic cooperation" in various fields as well as well issues of common interest.

"We hope this visit will further promote China Pakistan strategic partnership and cooperation," he said. His visit follows this month's visit of Pakistan Army Chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Asked whether the issues relating to nuclear reactors, which raised concerns both in United States and India would come up during Zardari's talks with Chinese leaders, Qin reiterated of repeated China's stand that the nuclear cooperation between the two countries was for civilian use and completely inline with the international obligations.

To a question on the India-Japanese talks to reach agreement on nuclear cooperation, Qin said China believes that all sovereign countries are entitled to peaceful use of the nuclear energy.

"We also believe that they have to comply with their international obligations regarding nuclear non proliferation relating to the development of nuclear energy and conducting relevant nuclear cooperation."

Such cooperation should be conducive to safeguarding the "completeness and effectiveness of international non proliferation regime," he said.

China endorsed the India-US nuclear accord at the NSG meeting, when gave its final stamp of approval for it.

Qin also said China proposes to discuss issues relating to terrorism, specially its concerns over extremist elements involve in Muslim Uyghur majority Xinjiang province, bordering Pakistan during Zardari's visit.

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