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Pakistan's Khan To Discuss Kashmir, Economic Projects With 'Iron Brother' China


Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (file photo)

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Beijing to discuss economic cooperation between the two neighbors and the situation in Kashmir.

Calling Pakistan and China "closest friends, staunch partners, and 'iron brothers,'" Khan's office has said his two-day visit beginning October 8 "will be instrumental in further cementing Pakistan's economic, investment and strategic ties with China."

A number of agreements and memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed during the trip, it said.

The agenda of the talks is set to include progress of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $60 billion project Beijing has launched as part of its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

Pakistani officials have denied that momentum on CPEC projects was slowing, amid concerns over Pakistan's high indebtedness and struggling economy.

The South Asian country's financial and economic difficulties led Islamabad to turn to the International Monetary Fund for a $6 billion bailout package in July.

Khan's third visit to Beijing in less than a year also comes as Islamabad launches an international diplomacy campaign in an attempt to draw global condemnation of New Delhi's August decision to strip the Indian-administered part of Kashmir of its special autonomy and to impose a security lockdown.

China, which also has border disputes with India, has called New Delhi's actions in the disputed Himalayan region "unacceptable."

India says the status of Kashmir is a domestic matter, and that the region will benefit economically from the move.

Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-led India have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, two of which were over control of Kashmir, which is claimed by both countries in its entirety.

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