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Xi meets Pakistani prime minister

03 November 2018

While China asserted that the bus service from Lahore to Tashkurgan in Xinjiang - timed to begin when Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will be visiting Beijing - did not alter the country's stance on the Kashmir issue, Pakistan dismissed India's objections as "frivolous".

Xi said the bilateral ties always stay vigorous and continue developing regardless of the changes in global situations or the two countries' domestic affairs.

The nation will hear good news soon, he added.

A loan of $1.5 billion is also expected to be offered, along with an additional package of $3 billion for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the report said.

China has in total pledged more than $60 billion to Pakistan in the form of loans and investments for roads, ports, power plants and industrial parks.

But while neither leader mentioned economic aid in front of reporters, China's top diplomat guaranteed support from Beijing in a separate meeting with his Pakistani counterpart.

Pakistan is expected to receive $6 billion economic package from China during PM Imran's visit, the sources said.

During his visit to Saudi Arabia last month, Riyadh committed United States dollars 6 billion funding which included USD 3 billion deferred payment for oil imports.

Pakistan has already approached the IMF but is concerned about the stringent conditions the worldwide lender may impose specially to scrutinise the CPEC projects.

Khan's visit evoked considerable interest here as it comes in the wake of his past criticism of the Dollars 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and remarks by his ministers to cut down some of the projects over debt concern.

Xi said China always views relations with Pakistan as a priority of diplomacy and supports Pakistan in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"China wants to avoid such transparency because exposing the terms of the CPEC project agreements could validate the U.S. criticism of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a debt trap for emerging economies", the Post report said.

Both leaders reinforced their shared commitment to taking their all-weather and time-tested Pak-China friendship to new heights, and further strengthening the existing multifaceted equation of the two countries for theirs and the regions's benefit, Radio Pakistan reported.

Khan is accompanied by foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, finance minister Umar, Advisor on Commerce and Trade Abdul Razzak Dawood, railways minister Sheikh Rasheed among others.

Khan is expected to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People on Saturday when they will sign several agreements. The trip "is significant for President Xi Jinping, whose flagship BRI has had hiccups in recent months".

The Pakistan prime minister's office said later that Xi had accepted an invitation to visit to the country.

Mr. Lu stressed that the CPEC was an "economic project", and did not reflect China's position on Kashmir.

Xi meets Pakistani prime minister