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China's Wen Jiabao bolsters ties to Pakistan

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“The timing of the trip is very important. Pakistan is facing difficulties in the region with the Obama review [on Afghanistan] excoriating Pakistan, and Western leaders trooping off to India without visiting Pakistan,” says Mushahid Hussain, an opposition senator and chairman of the Pakistan China Institute think tank. “This trip instills confidence in the Pakistani leadership and the Pakistani nation. Even through these hard times, the world’s second-largest economy is standing with us.”

Visits to the region

Indeed, President Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister David Cameron of Great Britain all visited India in recent months without going to Pakistan.

Wen’s trip to Pakistan follows a visit to India where China and India pledged to double their trade to $100 billion. That trip did not offer any breakthroughs on border disputes and other geopolitical differences, however.

Decades of unresolved border disputes after a brief 1962 border war have soured relations between India and China.

Solid Pakistan-China ties

Contrast that with Pakistan, where China has maintained solid ties for six decades. In 1951, Pakistan was among the first countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China founded two years earlier by the Communist party, which still governs China.

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