Islamabad: China says it will work with Pakistan’s military to “further deepen and expand” the two nations’ mutual interests and jointly protect regional peace and stability.
According to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Defence, General Syed Asim Munir, the head of Pakistan's army, met with Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, on the latter's first visit to Beijing.
“Noting that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and close friends, Zhang said that no matter how the international situation changes, China always gives Pakistan priority in its neighbourhood diplomacy,” said the statement.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media arm of the Pakistan army, claimed in a separate statement that Munir was welcomed with open arms and given a guard of honour upon his arrival at the People's Liberation Army headquarters in Beijing.
“Matters of mutual security interests and military cooperation were discussed. Both military commanders reiterated the need for maintaining peace and stability in the region and enhancing military to military cooperation,” the Pakistani statement said.
The ISPR said Munir will hold further meetings with military officials in China to enhance the “long standing relations between the two militaries” during his four-day visit.
Muhammad Faisal, an Islamabad-based foreign policy analyst and close observer of Pakistan-China ties, told the media Munir’s visit is crucial as it comes amid political, economic and security crises in Pakistan.
“Of late, Pakistan’s dependence on China for economic stability and regional security coordination has grown in the face of financial challenges, renewed threat of terrorism and India-centric challenges,” he said.