In Pakistan, Chinese Vice-Premier Keng Piao arrived on Friday (June 16) for a five day visit.
In Pakistan, Chinese Vice-Premier Keng Piao arrived on Friday (June 16) for a five day visit. He was there to officially open a new highway running from China through Pakistan's northern mountains and also to hold talks with President Zia-ul Haq.
SYNOPSIS: The Chinese visit came at a time when President Zia is increasingly concerned about Soviet intentions, following a leftist coup in neighbouring Afghanistan. Mr. Keng's arrival to open the highway, built with Chinese help, symbolized Peking's growing ties with Pakistan. The strategic importance of the road is heightened by China's involvement in Africa, as it allows the Chinese access to the port of Karachi.
The 500 mile (800 kilometre) highway, which follows the ancient silk route from China, was built over ten years at the cost of 400 lives. Some 10,000 Chinese workers were involved in its construction and most of the equipment and all of the bridges are Chinese-designed.
General Zia compared the project to the Great Wall of China and said it signalled a new era of friendship between Pakistan and China. The London Daily Telegraph suggested that nothing was said about the road's most obvious importance-as a military supply route in the event of another war with India. But Vice-Premier Keng did reaffirm China's support for Pakistan over Kashmir when he called for self-determination for the people of the divided state, partly held by India.