Islamabad: In a major twist, China has extended support to Pakistan by asking US to respect the nation’s sovereignty and understand its problems.

A news channel reported that during a meeting with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday in Beijing, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said he had taken up the issue with US officials at a recent strategic and economic dialogue in Washington.

Gilani began a four-day official visit to China on Tuesday. The trip comes amid strained ties between the US and Pakistan after Osama bin Laden was shot dead May 2 by US Navy SEALs in Pakistan's Abbottabad. The US said it had taken unilateral action to take out the Al Qaeda leader.

He said China and Pakistan would forever remain good neighbours and good partners.

The Chinese premier lauded Gilani's decision to accept India's invitation to watch the cricket world cup semifinal match between India and Pakistan in Mohali.

Gilani told reporters that Pakistan and China have agreed to bolster defence ties.

He said his trip to China was pre-scheduled and it had nothing to do with Osama's May 2 killing.

The Pakistani prime minister said Washington had assured that there would be no 'unilateral attack' inside Pakistan's territory in future.

'If another high-value target is found in Pakistan a joint operation will be carried out against him,' he was quoted as saying.

(Agencies)