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China to sell AWACS to Pak, continue nuke ties

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
November 24, 2006 19:03 IST
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Cementing further their "all-weather friendship", China Friday decided to sell Pakistan an unspecified number of airborne warning and control systems even as the two countries agreed to continue with their nuclear cooperation.

After wide-ranging talks between visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf, the two countries also signed a host of agreements to boost defense, energy and trade ties. Nuclear energy cooperation was the key component of their talks. Addressing a press conference with Musharraf standing by his side, Hu said "energy cooperation between the two countries is an important component in the overall cooperative relations."

"With President Musharraf just now we reached a common understanding about further strengthening energy cooperation between China and Pakistan. The cooperation includes hydro power, coal fired generation and new alternative sources of energy," the Chinese President said.

Significantly, Hu, who was expected to unveil a phase of cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear technology with Pakistan to rival the Indo-US nuclear deal, did not announce any new projects.

China has built one 350 mw power plant -- Chashma -- and is constructing another 325 MW plant. Pakistan wanted to have six more such power plants. "China and Pakistan have already developed very close cooperation in the development of the Chasma nuclear power plant. We will continue to carry out such cooperation," said Hu, who flew to Islamabad from India where he agreed to step up civil nuclear cooperation between New Delhi and Beijing.

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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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