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Progress in N-cooperation with China, says Pak
Afzal Khan writes from Islamabad

The US may not be interested in extending civilian nuclear cooperation to Pakistan, but Beijing certainly is. Islamabad on Saturday said progress had been made in civilian- nuclear cooperation with China to go ahead with Chashma-III and Chashma-IV nuclear plants to generate additional 680MW electricity and meet the country’s growing power demand.

Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while briefing mediapersons about the outcome at the end of the four-day visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to China, said it had reinforced the strong bonds existing between the two countries. President Zardari has promised to visit China after every three months.

About seeking approval of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for these power plants, the foreign minister said Pakistan was fully cognizant of its international obligations.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on finance Shaukat Tareen, who addressed the joint press briefing, said Chinese companies had been pledged $1.2 billion in various sectors in Pakistan.

He said the focus was on seeking greater investment on strategic ongoing and future projects in Pakistan, besides greater involvement on steel and cement sectors.

Tareen said talks were held to improve the trade balance that was heavily tilted towards China, with around $5 billion of imports from China, in contrast to $1 billion exports from Pakistan.

Qureshi highlighted the several successes of the visit, including the pledge to meet much more than the existing resource gap Pakistan was currently facing.

He mentioned the agreement on acquisition of Paksat-IR for Pakistan and a deal to improve agriculture production, improvement of Pakistan's mineral sector, signing of a free trade agreement on trade and services sector by the end of this year.



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