China's Minister of National defence has arrived in Pakistan on an official visit. The visit?
China's Minister of National defence has arrived in Pakistan on an official visit. The visit has been described as further evidence of Pakistan's growing bonds with Peking.
SYNOPSIS: A guard of honour was on hand at Islamabad Airport on Saturday (20 October) to welcome the Chinese visitors. Pakistan's President, Zia ul-Haq, was also there together with his wife and top military officials.
Mr. He Zhang Ciagin was accompanied by a fifteen-man delegation. \their visit to Pakistan follows that of Chinese Vice Premier, Keng Piao, who was in Pakistan in June last year for the inauguration of the strategic Karakorum Highway to China. The new highway -- which Genera Zia has described as the eighth wonder of the world -- has led to even closer economic co-operation between Peking and Islamabad.
The Karakorum Highway -- five hundred miles (800 kilometres) long -- follows the ancient silk route from China and was built over a period of ten years at the cost of four hundred lives. Some ten thousand Chinese workers were involved in the construction of what has been called the "bridge of friendship" between the two countries.
This visit to Islamabad comes at a time when Pakistan is increasingly concerned at the growing Soviet influence in neighbouring Afghanistan. Since the United States suspended the sale of military equipment to the Indian sub-continent, China has become a major supplier. One British newspaper, the London "Daily Telegraph", has reported that the most obvious significance of the Karakorum highway is as a military supply route in the event of another war with India.