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Pakistani PM Says China Ties 'Sweeter Than Honey'


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (third from right) gestures near Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (center) and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif (second from left) before a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July 5.
Visiting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has met with his Chinese counterpart, Premier Li Keqiang, during the Pakistani leader's first foreign trip since his allies won elections in May.

The two leaders reiterated their friendship and oversaw the signing of agreements on an economic corridor technology, polio prevention, and solar housing.

Speaking at a bilateral meeting in the Great Hall of the People, Sharif praised the friendship between the two nations.

"Our friendship is higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the deepest sea in the world and sweeter than honey," Sharif said.

Li appreciated Sharif's "great warmth and deep affection for the people of China."

Li was the first foreign leader to visit Pakistan after Sharif's electoral victory.

Pakistan and China are close diplomatic and military allies.

China is involved with an upgrade to the Karakoram Highway, which is envisioned as part of a proposed economic corridor between the two countries.

Earlier this year, China took control of operations at Pakistan's Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea, near the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

Sharif, a steel magnate, is widely seen as pushing for a major overhaul of Pakistan's weak economy struggling with crippling power cuts, inflation, mounting debt, and a flight of investor capital.

Sharif's aim is to focus on improving economic cooperation with the China and emulate its economic success model.

The Pakistani leader took a ride in Beijing's subway, calling it a "superb" system.

"I'm very impressed with the underground railway system, and we also had to explore the possibility of having this facility in Pakistan as well," Sharif told reporters. "We are talking to the prime minister tomorrow and also to the relevant companies."

Sharif will visit Chinese economic power houses in Shanghai and Guangzhou over the weekend.

Bilateral trade between the two neighbors has reached $12 billion. Islamabad and Beijing now want to increase it to $15 billion in the next few years.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters