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China, Pakistan to boost military cooperation

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China plans to step up military cooperation with Pakistan to produce missiles. AP file photo

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18th-Mar-2017       
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PTI, Beijing :
China plans to step up military cooperation with "all weather" friend Pakistan to produce ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and a multi-role combat aircraft, official media in Beijing reported as Pakistan's new army chief held talks with top Chinese officials.
On his first visit to China after he took over as Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa yesterday held talks with General Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department under the Central Military Commission.
General Bajwa also called on Chinese Executive Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, General Fan Changlong and Commander of the People's Liberation Army General Li Zhuocheng and discussed regional security, economy defence cooperation and other issues of mutual interest.
The "all-weather" strategic partnership has withstood changes in the international community, Fang said.
The talks will consolidate and deepen military exchanges between China and Pakistan, while new cooperation on military techniques might also be discussed, Song Zhongping, a military expert who served in the Second Artillery Corps (now known as the PLA Rocket Force), told state-run Global Times.
Weapon exchanges, including the mass production of FC-1 Xiaolong which in Pakistan called JF-17 Thunder is a lightweight and multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the two countries, will be furthered after the meeting, Song said.
China's authorisation to Pakistan to produce ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-ship missiles and main battle tanks in Pakistan is also on the agenda, he said.
The talks will consolidate and deepen military exchanges between China and Pakistan, while new cooperation on military techniques might also be discussed, Song said.
The military cooperation between China and Pakistan will be further enhanced especially in weapons and anti-terrorism sectors, the report said.
The two sides also vowed yesterday to ensure the safety of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an important part of China's One Belt and One Road initiative.
Military cooperation between China and Pakistan will be further enhanced especially in weapons and anti-terrorism sectors, experts noted.
Masood Khalid, Pakistan's Ambassador to China, said at a news conference on Tuesday that Pakistan has deployed more than 15,000 troops to protect the CPEC and the country's navy has raised a special contingent for the protection of Gwadar Port.
As Pakistan faces frequent threats from terrorist forces such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda, military's support is necessary to ensure a safe environment in the regions where China has invested heavily, Song said.
The two countries agreed to enhance anti-terrorism cooperation at the meeting, vowing to resolutely strike against terrorist forces including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement active in China's restive Xinjiang which is the connecting point of the CPEC.

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