Beijing will accord "high and top priority" to Hussain's visit during February 18-20, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday.

"It will be the first foreign visit for Hussain since he took office last year," Hua told a media briefing.

Noting that China attaches great importance to the visit, she said: "We would like to work with Pakistan for the success of Hussain's visit so as to deepen our win-win cooperation in various fields and (make) new progress for the growth of bilateral relations."

Hussain, a leader of the PML-N who succeeded Asif Ali Zardari, will hold talks with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang.

During his visit, the second meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor will be convened on February 18.

Zardari visited China seven times during his five-year tenure since 2008 to highlight the closeness between the two countries.

Hua commended the sound development of bilateral ties last year, recalling interactions between the leadership of both sides.

During Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's visit to Beijing last year, the two sides inked an agreement on constructing the China-Pakistan economic corridor, besides deepening economic and trade cooperation and close coordination in global and regional affairs.

China has extended USD 6.5 billion as assistance for constructing two 1,100 MW nuclear reactors in Karachi.

"Pakistan is an all weather strategic partner of cooperation for China. For Chinese people, we nickname Pakistani people as Iron Friend. In recent years we maintained good momentum of development of bilateral relations," Hua said.

Trade between the two sides has crossed USD 12 billion, with Pakistan's exports increasing by 48 per cent.


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