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China and Pakistan agreed to strengthen cooperation in training, technology, and counter-terrorism, amid external efforts to drive a wedge between the two nations.
The agreement emerged from a visit to Beijing by a delegation of Pakistani military personnel, led by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. General Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, was the head of the Chinese side.
"Pakistan and China reaffirmed their strategic partnership in challenging times and agreed to continue regular exchange of perspectives on issues of mutual interest," Pakistan's military said in a statement Sunday.
The talks between the two delegations focused on international and regional security issues. According to reports, China called for a halt to attacks in the Balochistan region targeting Chinese nationals operating in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The megaproject seeks to connect the port of Gwadar in southwest Pakistan with the Xinjiang region in northwest China through a network of highways, railways and oil pipelines. It has come under fire from U.S. officials on several occasions. They allege that it will saddle Pakistan with costly Chinese loans.
A senior military delegation from the #Pakistan Armed Forces ���� visited the People’s Republic of #China ���� on a 3 day visit ending today, to held wide-ranging discussions on military cooperation with the leadership of the Chinese military. pic.twitter.com/UCpJgwDN8P
In this regard, the Speaker of Pakistan's National Assembly, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, said last week that the project offered Pakistan the chance to solve its infrastructure issues and develop into a geo-economic hub in the region. The Pakistani politician said that the CPEC was subjected to a "malicious disinformation campaign."
In the same vein, China's top diplomat in Pakistan, Pang Chunxue, said early this month that "hostile forces are trying to undermine the development of CPEC as well as the unity and mutual trust between the two countries."
CPEC projects have been targeted by Baloch insurgents who see China as an imperialist threat aiming to exploit the province's natural resources.