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Pakistanis hail ironclad friendship with China ahead of Xi's visit

Editor: zhangrui 丨Xinhua

04-20-2015 07:06 BJT

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ISLAMABAD, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Days before Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Pakistan, his first trip to the South Asian nation since he assumed presidency in 2013, Pakistanis have been immersed in a festive atmosphere.

In Islamabad, huge signboards printed with portraits of Xi and Pakistani leaders, as well as national flags of China and Pakistan, stood along the main roads of the city, catching the eyes of local residents.

"Pakistan-China friendship is higher than mountains, deeper than Oceans, sweeter than honey, and stronger than steel," read the signboards in both Chinese and English.

Pakistan is the first stop of Xi's first overseas trip this year. The Chinese president is to visit the country Monday and Tuesday before traveling to Indonesia for an Asian-African summit and activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference.

In a signed article published Sunday by Pakistani press on the eve of his visit, Xi called for advancing cooperation with Pakistan in various areas.

"This will be my first trip to Pakistan, but I feel as if I am going to visit the home of my own brother," said the Chinese president.

He noted that the friendship between China and Pakistan is deeply felt in the hearts of the two peoples.

"Over the years, thanks to the nurturing of generations of leaders and people from all sectors of both countries, the China-Pakistan friendship has flourished like a tree growing tall and strong," he said.

China and Pakistan have long been "iron friends" and all-weather partners of strategic cooperation. Chinese people have even coined a special term for Pakistan -- "Iron Pak", a vivid description for the special, friendly and unshakable ties between the two countries.

In Chinese, the phrase "iron friends" means trustworthy friends whose friendship is as solid as iron.

Akram Zaki, a former foreign secretary of Pakistan, said China, through its friendly relations with its neighbors, has been stressing on the concept that "the real partnership is sharing with others, not taking advantages of other countries."

"China and Pakistan have developed multidimensional, comprehensive and everlasting relationship and the link that was established ... is becoming stronger and stronger," he said.

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