Islamabad, Beijing will jointly fight terrorISLAMABAD, Oct 18: President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Monday assured the visiting Chinese state councillor, Mr Tang Jiaxuan, that security measures for the protection of Chinese nationals working in the country had been fortified and expressed Pakistan's willingness to reinforce anti-terrorism cooperation with China.
Pakistan and China established a joint working group on counter-terrorism in 2001. President Musharraf also offered his condolences on the death of the Chinese engineer to Mr Tang Jiaxuan who called on him along with high-ranking members of his delegation.
The Chinese state councillor conveyed to the president a message of goodwill from Chinese President Hu Jintao, a foreign ministry statement said.
According to the statement, the Chinese president had in his message acknowledged the enormous efforts made by Pakistan to secure the safe release of Chinese hostages and affirmed that this tragic incident would not affect Pakistan-China cooperation.
Both sides affirmed their commitment to the full implementation of the 'Declaration on Directions of Bilateral Relations' signed in Beijing in November 2003.
The status of various projects, including Gwadar, Chashma-II nuclear plant, Saindak Gold and Copper, Thar Coal, etc., was also reviewed during the meeting and new areas for cooperation were identified.
"The president expressed full satisfaction on the excellent cooperation at all levels that exists between Pakistan and China and in all fields," the foreign ministry statement said.
It added: "The president noted that work on all mega projects of national economic significance being executed with Chinese assistance were progressing smoothly." Regional and international issues were also discussed.
"The Chinese councillor paid rich tribute to the sagacity, courage and strategic vision of President Gen Pervez Musharraf and in particular, the contribution that the president had made towards strengthening of Pakistan-China relations," said the statement.
Later, Tang Jiaxuan held talks with Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri at the Foreign Office here on Monday.
The foreign minister condoled the death of the Chinese surveyor in the hostage taking episode. While appreciating the help extended by Pakistan during this episode, Mr Tang Jiaxuan expressed the hope that appropriate security measures would be taken for the Chinese nationals working in Pakistan. In this context the two sides reiterated their resolve to work jointly to eradicate terrorism.
In a significant move towards economic cooperation, the two sides decided to set up a joint study group for concluding the Free Trade Agreement.
The Foreign Office spokesman said that during the meeting both sides exchanged views on regional and international situation as well as UN Security Council reforms.
The Chinese official thanked Pakistan for support on Taiwan, Tibet and human rights, the spokesman added. Mr Tang Jiaxuan arrived here on Sunday on a two-day visit, leading a 20-member delegation.