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Chinese president to address joint session of Parliament on April 21

By   /   April 17, 2015  /   No Comments

Irfan Haider — Updated about 3 hours ago

President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday summoned a session of the National Assembly on April 20 at 4:00pm at Parliament House. ─ PPI/File
President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday summoned a session of the National Assembly on April 20 at 4:00pm at Parliament House. ─ PPI/File

ISLAMABAD: According to the Foreign Office, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping will address a joint session of Parliament during his two-day state visit to Pakistan from April 20 to 21.

Official sources told Dawn.com that the Chinese president will address the joint session on April 21.

Separately, President Mamnoon Hussain today summoned a session of the National Assembly on April 20 at 4:00pm at Parliament House.

The president has summoned the NA session in exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 54 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Read more: Chinese president to visit Pakistan, hammer out $46-billion deal

Jinping’s upcoming trip to Pakistan is expected to focus on economic relations between both countries.

The Chinese president will launch energy and infrastructure projects worth $46 billion on a visit to Pakistan next week as China cements links with its old ally and generates opportunities for firms hit by slack growth at home.

Also being finalised is a long-discussed plan to sell Pakistan eight Chinese submarines. The deal, worth between $4 billion and $5 billion, according to media reports, may be among those signed on the trip.

Pakistan and China often boast of being “iron brothers” and two-way trade grew to $10 billion last year from $4 billion in 2007, Pakistani data shows.

Xi’s trip is expected to focus on a Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, a planned $46-billion network of roads, railways and energy projects linking Pakistan’s deepwater Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea with China’s far-western Xinjiang region.

It would shorten the route for China’s energy imports, bypassing the Straits of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia, a bottleneck at risk of blockade in wartime.

If the submarine deal is signed, China may also offer Pakistan concessions on building a refuelling and mechanical station in Gwadar, a defence analyst said.

China’s own submarines could use the station to extend their range in the Indian Ocean.

“China is thinking in terms of a maritime silk road now, something to connect the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean,” said a Pakistani defence official, who declined to be identified.

For Pakistan, the corridor is a cheap way to develop its violence-plagued and poverty-stricken Balochistan province, home to Gwadar.

China has promised to invest about $34 billion in energy projects and nearly $12 billion in infrastructure.

The two countries have also signed a number of memoranda of understanding. Sources in the PM’s Secretariat earlier revealed that at least 10 more MoUs are ready to be signed when the Chinese premier arrives in Islamabad on his long-awaited visit.

Read more: PML-N puts all its MoUs in Chinese basket

Xi is also likely to raise concerns regarding Muslim separatists from Xinjiang who are linking up with Pakistani militants, and he may also push for closer efforts for a more stable Afghanistan.

Jinping will be 18th foreign dignitary who will address the joint session of the Parliament.

Foreign dignitaries who have previously addressed either the NA, Senate or the Joint Session of the Parliament include President of Indonesia Dr. Ahmed Soekarno, President of Turkey Mr. Kenan Evren, President of Palestine Mr. Yasser Arafat, President of France Mr. Francois Mitterand, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, Prime Minister of Turkey Tayyip Ezdogan, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, President of Iran Mr. Ali Akbar Hashmi Rafsanjani and Queen Elizabeth-II.

Read more: Chinese president to visit Pakistan this month: Foreign Office

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