Chinese Premier Minister Li Keqiang vowed to strengthen his country’s partnership with Pakistan Wednesday as he began an official visit less than a fortnight after the country’s general election.
The long-time allies will look to use the two-day trip to boost trade ties, and Li will meet prime minister-elect Nawaz Sharif — who has not yet been sworn in — as well as holding talks with senior officials.
Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party swept to victory in the May 11 general election on a promise to revitalise the struggling economy. Help from its giant northern neighbour will be important to this.
Trade between China and Pakistan hit an annual $12 billion for the first time last year, according to Islamabad’s foreign ministry, and the two sides plan to raise this to $15 billion in the next two to three years.
Li arrived in Pakistan after a visit to arch-rival India, where he promised to open China’s vast domestic market wider to India and forge a “dynamic trade balance” with the South Asian giant.