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Pakistan, China sign 27 agreements

BEIJING, April 17 (APP): Pakistan and China on Tuesday inked 27 agreements and Memorandums of Understanding aimed at further expanding ties between the two countries including cooperation in space technology, avoidance of double taxation and increased cooperation between the private sectors. The signing ceremony witnessed by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao here at the Great Hall of the People and their cabinet members was preceded by an exclusive 40-minute meeting between the two leaders and an hour-long round of formal talks.

The private sectors of the two countries signed 14 agreements, while another 13 were signed between the two governments, which also agreed to realize the projects to be undertaken by them on "fast-track basis."

"We have re-energized an already strong relationship by introducing new dimensions, new aspects which are reflective of the changes taking place in the world and both the countries," Prime Minister Aziz told the accompanying media team here at the State Guest House after the talks.

Under the Framework Agreement between China National Space Administration (CNSA) and Suparco, the two sides will "deepen cooperation" in Science and Technology. China will help Pakistan's communications and earth observation satellite programme.

The two countries will also work on construction of a cross-border cable system to strengthen their communication linkages.

Shaukat Aziz said he was very pleased with the talks.

"The relations are going from strength to strength, to new heights," he said and added the two countries have moved forward in areas of defence cooperation, science and technology collaboration and financing by Chinese companies in Pakistan's energy and trade spheres.

Pakistan and China agreed on greater cooperation in the Banking sector and on ways to "broaden dimensions" in all areas. They also agreed on infrastructure development projects, including dams, power generation and mass transit systems.

Prime Minister Aziz said the "broad-based" talks reflected similarity of views on major international issues and covered cooperation in the fight against terrorism, UN Reforms, Pakistan-India talks and situation in Afghanistan and the Iran situation.

He also spoke of the agreements on the economic side for furthering the strategic ties by promoting cooperation in the field of small and medium enterprises and increased interaction between private sectors. He also mentioned the setting up of the Joint Investment Company that he described as a new model of collaboration between the two countries.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said both Pakistan and China had already signed a Free Trade Agreement aimed at boosting bilateral trade to US 15 billion dollars in next five years.

He said Pakistan congratulated China over the successful conclusion of talks on North Korean issue. On the Iranian nuclear issue, Pakistan and China expressed similarity of views. Pakistan reiterated its position that Russia and China should play active role for a peaceful solution.

Shaukat Aziz said there was a need for more cultural and people to people exchanges between Pakistan and China. The two countries also signed a Treaty on Mutual Judicial Assistance in Criminal Matters, an agreement on Projects Implementation Regulation for the five-year development programme on economic cooperation and an agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation.

The MoUs were signed on cooperation between Karachi and Shanghai Stock Exchange, cooperation between Pakistani Ministry of Industries and Chinese Development and Reform Commission, collaboration between Suparco and China Great Wall Industry, cooperation on PAKSAT-1R, cooperation between Foreign Service Academies and on establishment of Pakistan Study Centre at Beijing University.

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