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China to always stand by Pakistan: Xi Jinping

New Delhi/Beijing, March 18 (IANS) While the world is battling coronavirus pandemic, President Xi Jinping, in a diplomatic message to India, has said that China will always stand by Pakistan regardless of international pressure.

“No matter how the international situation changes, China will always stand firmly with Pakistan, and is committed to deepening the ironclad China-Pakistan friendship, so as to make China-Pakistan relations a model for building a community with a shared future for humanity, and better benefit the two peoples,” Xi told Pakistani President Arif Alvi who was visiting Beijing on Tuesday.

The statement assumes significance in view of the fact that China sees India, as an extension of its arch rival, US ever since Washington and New Delhi have strengthened their strategic partnership under the leadership of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The recent grand reception of President Trump in India during his two day trip, is being considered as a new and decisive chapter in the world order.

The ongoing US-China blame game over the coronavirus outbreak is playing out, accordingly. Beijing has accused the US army of bringing the COVID-19 to China and deliberately infect its population. US President Donald Trump in a strong rebuttal, has now begun to refer COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese virus’.

While over 3200 have died and around 81,000 people have been infected by coronavirus in China, over 110 are dead and over 6500 people are infected in the US.

Relatively, Pakistan and India are still safer with only 247 and 148 people who have tested positive for the infection, respectively. Three people have died due to the infection in India.

While most state heads in the world have canceled their foreign trips, President Alvi along with foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and minister for planning and development Asad Umar went ahead with their visit to Beijing.

Against this backdrop, Xi Jinping during his talks with President Alvi on Tuesday, said, “special friendship between Pakistan and China was choice of the history as it had deep roots in the hearts of people of the two countries.”

He said President Alvi’s presence in China was “expression of a firm support to us and this speaks volumes of profound friendship towards the Chinese people and the emphasis he put on our bilateral ties”.

China has planned to donate 300,000 face masks, 10,000 protective suits and 4 million US dollars to Pakistan to fight coronavirus.

Xi Jinping reiterated his commitment to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into a model of high-quality development within the Belt and Road Initiative.

The two countries signed memoranda of understanding (MoU) on establishing joint technology and agriculture working groups in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Joint Cooperation Committee and strengthening of cooperation on pest and disease control.

–IANS

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