Islamabad, May 22: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was accorded a red carpet welcome as he arrived here today on a two-day maiden visit to “iron brother” Pakistan for talks on bilateral and regional issues focusing economic cooperation.
President Asif Ali Zardari and caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso received the Chinese Premier on arrival at a military airbase near Islamabad.
Li was presented a 19-gun salute and a guard of honour at the Islamabad Noor Khan Base, where all three services chiefs, high level civil, military officials, diplomats and ministers were present on the occasion.
57-year-old Li is accompanied by a high powered delegation which includes Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Gao Hucheng, Minister for Commerce and Xu Shaoshi, Chairman of National Development Reform Commission, high ranking officials and leaders of corporate sector.
Li will meet President Zardari who will host a luncheon for him at the Presidency later today.
The Chinese Premier will also hold talks with the caretaker Prime Minister after which there will be a joint press stakeout. The Prime Minister will host a banquet for Li in the evening.
Li will be presented Pakistan's highest civilian award ‘Nishan-e-Pakistan'.
Premier Li will also hold a joint meeting with the Chairman Senate and Speaker National Assembly and also address the Senate of Pakistan.
Leaders of the political parties will also meet the Chinese Premier, the Foreign Ministry said. Prime Minister-designate Nawaz Sharif will call on him tomorrow.
Many important Agreements and MoUs in the fields of economy, Science and Technology, Space & Upper Atmosphere communication and energy would be signed during the visit of the Chinese Premier, the Foreign Ministry said.
All these and other agreements are aimed at further strengthening our bilateral relations and improving the well being of the two people, it said.
Li yesterday lauded Pakistan, saying “When it comes to Pakistan, the first word that comes to the mind of the Chinese is “iron brother”.