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Pakistan's Khan To Visit ‘Staunch Partner’ China This Week


FILE: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan claps with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a signing ceremony in April.

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to pay a two-day visit to China this week to discuss economic cooperation between the two neighbors and the situation in Kashmir.

Khan's third visit to Beijing in less than a year is scheduled to start on October 8 amid heightened tensions between Pakistan and India over New Delhi’s decision in August to strip the Indian-administered part of Kashmir of its special autonomy and to impose a security lockdown.

China, which also has border disputes with in India, has warned New Delhi not to take any unilateral step aimed at changing the status of the disputed Himalayan region.

Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-led India have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, two of which were over control of Kashmir, which is claimed by both countries in its entirety.

Khan’s office said in a statement on October 7 that his trip “will be instrumental in further cementing Pakistan’s economic, investment and strategic ties with China.”

Beijing has pledged tens of millions of dollars in investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, part of its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

Calling Pakistan and China “closest friends, staunch partners and ‘iron brothers,’” the statement said Khan will hold talks with President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

A number of agreements and memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed during the visit.

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