Cash-strapped Pakistan at 'low point', PM tells China

Cash-strapped Pakistan at 'low point', PM tells China

China and Pakistan refer to themselves as "all-weather friends", sharing close economic and military ties.

In his meeting with Xi, Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician, said: "my party (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf) has only been in power for two months".

The minister went on to say that the prime minister's China visit would rid the country out of economic crisis.

The Prime Minister described his visit to China as a great opportunity and said that Pakistan Pavilion at Shanghai International Import Expo would be exhibiting Pakistan's export items. "And so we, as I've said, have come to learn", Reuters quoted Imran Khan as saying.

Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan and China's President Xi Jinping were preparing to meet on Friday amid concerns over Pakistan's growing fiscal crisis and its ability to repay Chinese loans granted as part of Xi's Belt and Road initiative.

Talking about the economic challenges including the current account deficit and declining foreign exchange reserves, the Prime Minister said, his government was following a two-pronged strategy including approaching friendly countries for financial assistance and putting the option of IMF at the end to avoid the tough conditions of the Fund.

"Any such bus service through Pakistan Occupied Jammu & Kashmir State will be a violation of India's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in China on his first visit as the premier late Thursday, with a special focus on learning how to eliminate corruption and weed out poverty.

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Earlier during his visit to Saudi Arabia, Riyadh committed United States dollars 6 billion funding which included USD 3 billion deferred payment for oil imports.

An IMF delegation is due to visit China next week and the Khan government wants to minimise the bailout package it seeks from the global lender.

Khan is also keen to renegotiate Islamabad's projects under the "Belt and Road Initiative", Beijing's worldwide trade and infrastructure development programme.

"Khan's trip is important for reasons beyond the immediate financing needs", Uzair Younus, a South Asia director at Washington-based consultancy Albright Stonebridge Group LLC, said by email. He conveyed his desire to work with him for strengthening Pakistan-China Strategic Cooperative Partnership for shared future.

Khan, who is here on his maiden visit, met Xi in the Great Hall of People where the two leaders also held one-on-one meeting besides delegation-level talks, Pakistani media reports said.

Khan is being accompanied on his visit by several senior government officials, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, commerce and trade adviser Abdul Razzak Dawood and Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed.

India has lodged a protest with Pakistan and China over a bus service set to be launched today between Lahore and Kashghar - a city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west - through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

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