LAHORE: Chinese President Hu Jintao has said Sino-Pak friendship will not be affected in the changing global geo-political scenario, citing an adage, “China will prefer to give up gold than friendship” with Pakistan.“There is an old Chinese saying that gold can be scarified but friendship can never be given up,” Hu said while addressing a reception given in his honour by Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi at the Shalamar Gardens on Saturday.
He said though the geo-political situation was rapidly changing at the global level, but Pak-China friendship would not change as it was based on vast interest of the people of both the countries.
“Chinese industrialists and trade organisations prefer to invest in Pakistan. They have invested in various sectors, particularly in motorcycle industry and today China-made motorcycles are running all over Pakistan, especially in the Punjab.”
“The Sino-Pak economic cooperation will benefit the people of both the countries, as it will further strengthen Pak-China friendship,” he said. He added that Pak-China mutual relationship is benefiting both the countries in different sectors, including politics, economy, defence, and at the level of people.
Hu stressed that China and Pakistan should promote friendship through mutual efforts and should make joint struggle for bringing development and prosperity for the people.
“Pakistan is among those countries that stood by China in difficult times and helped it. We cannot forget Pakistan’s role for China over the years. In the past, both Pakistan and China stood by each other during crucial times. Political and economic cooperation between China and Pakistan will be strengthened further. “Over the years both Pakistan and China have become trustworthy friends, as their friendship is time-tested,” he said. He pledged China would stand by Pakistan in all kinds of circumstances.
The Chinese president stated that Pak-China friendship flourished in the 1960s and Lahore played an important role to strengthen it further, which later covered other cities of China and Pakistan.
“The first time I came to Lahore was in 1984. After 22 years I got an opportunity to see this beautiful city once again. Lahore is a famous historical city. If someone wants to know Pakistan, he will have to know Lahore, as here he can find out social and cultural values of Pakistan,” he said and added that Lahore bears testimony to a bright future of Pakistan. He said the Punjab, particularly Lahore, is the important pillar of Pakistan’s economy and industry. He said a famous personality of great philosopher-poet Allama Iqbal was born in a city of the Punjab.
While thanking Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi for the warm welcome, Hu said 1.3 billion people of China were also thankful to Pakistan, particularly to the Lahorites, for giving such a warm welcome.
Earlier in his welcome address, Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi said the 21st century world would have to seek guidance from the ancient Chinese wisdom for solution of its burning issues and disputes. He said China has always upheld the time-honoured principles of international justice and Pakistan has always enjoyed complete support of China on Kashmir and other important issues.
He said Pak-China friendship is a lasting and durable reality and has stood every test of time. He said China has always provided invaluable guidance to Pakistan on important issues.
He recalled that China supported Pakistan at every critical juncture and people of Lahore cannot forget the fact that it helped when the city was attacked 40 years ago. He said friendship between China and Pakistan was not based merely on their proximity or geographical considerations.
The chief minister said China became a beacon of light for the world in the field of international politics and economy as the international markets were glutted with Chinese products.
It was the earnest desire of the Pakistanis to benefit from the charismatic strategy of their lasting friend due to which it has become a model even for the developed nations, he added. He said the Punjab was also been making rapid progress in every sector in accordance with the development vision of President Pervez Musharraf.
He said the Punjab government wanted to establish a special joint economic zone for private investment and it was its earnest desire that our Chinese brethren should take upon the responsibility of management of this zone.
He said he had presented this proposal to the governor of Jiangsu province during his visit to China to which he had agreed in principle. He said Punjab government is willing to provide land for this project free of charge. He expressed the confidence that the federal government will leave no stone unturned towards completion of any project to be executed in the province with the guidance and cooperation of China.
Pervaiz said that in the backdrop of fast-changing international scenario, a large number of Pakistanis want to learn Chinese language. He said the Punjab government is setting up Jiangsu cultural centres in the province for the teaching of Chinese language and the government will also provide scholarships to the students. He stressed upon the need for exchange of maximum number of cultural, literary, educational and journalist delegations between Punjab and Jiangsu.
APP adds: The Chinese president was accorded a red-carpet welcome when he arrived on a two-day visit in the provincial capital on Saturday.
Upon his arrival at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, he was greeted by the Governor Khalid Maqbool, Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi while the spouse of Chinese president was welcomed by Rubina Khalid, the wife of the governor.
Hu was introduced to a long reception line comprising members of the Punjab cabinet, high-ranking civil and military officials besides Chinese working in various projects in Pakistan.
The provincial capital, especially the major roads, were giving a festive look as these have been tastefully decorated with flags of Pakistan and China besides banners inscribed with welcome slogans and portraits of Chinese and Pakistani leaders.
On Sunday, President Hu will visit the Chinese home appliances manufacturing firm, Haier at Manga Mandi.