China vows to help cash-strapped Pakistan

BEIJING (AFP) – China vowed Thursday to do what it could to help cash-strapped Pakistan avert financial disaster as Islamabad’s leader continued an official visit aimed at rustling up crucial Chinese investments.

The promise came as Premier Wen Jiabao met Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who is on his first official visit abroad after being elected in September.

“As a long friend of Pakistan, China understands it is facing some financial difficulties,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

An employee counts Renminbi banknotes at Bank of China branch ... 

“We’re ready to support and help Pakistan within our capability.”

Zardari met Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on Wednesday in a meeting in which the two sides pledged to strengthen decades-old ties and signed 11 bilateral agreements, one on unspecified economic cooperation.

The Financial Times newspaper has reported, without citing sources, that Zardari would seek a soft loan of between 500 million and 1.5 billion dollars from China to help Pakistan avoid looming bankruptcy.

However, Qin offered no specifics on the form that Beijing‘s financial help would take.

China’s state news agency Xinhua late Thursday released the full text of a joint statement between China and Pakistan which covered economic cooperation and foreign policy issues but was short on details.

“Pakistan appreciated the strong support and assistance provided by the government and people of China to Pakistan in its economic development,” the joint statement said.

Pakistan’s ambassador to China, Masood Khan, said earlier this week in an interview with Pakistan television station Geo an agreement on a civilian nuclear pact with China could be reached during the trip.

But Qin declined to give any details….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081016/wl_asia_afp/
chinapakistandiplomacy_081016184817

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