LEAD: Pakistani president holds meetings with Chinese leaders+
(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)BEIJING, Feb. 20_(Kyodo) _ (EDS: UPDATING WITH TALKS WITH HU JINTAO)
Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf met with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday in Beijing as part of a five-day visit aimed at solidifying the two countries' "strategic partnership."
Musharraf and Hu signed a framework agreement on energy cooperation, China News Service reported after they met late Monday afternoon.
Hu was quoted as saying the besides energy, he wants China and Pakistan to step up their cooperation in agriculture and telecommunications, and to work toward forming a free-trade area. Musharraf reportedly concurred.
Musharraf, who arrived in China on Sunday, also met with Wu Bangguo, chairman of the National People's Congress standing committee and with Zhang Deguang, secretary general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
In his meeting with Zhang, Musharraf pressed the regional body to upgrade Pakistan's status from observer to full member. It currently comprises China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Zhang was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying after the meeting, "We will convey Pakistan's wish to become a full member of the SCO to every member country."
He lauded Pakistan's "great role" in fighting international terrorism and in developing economic and cultural ties in the region.
In a meeting during the day with a high-level delegation of All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, Musharraf that the level of economic cooperation between Pakistan and China "does not commensurate with political and diplomatic closeness the two countries enjoy," according to the Associated Press of Pakistan.
He noted that the two countries already have a preferential trade arrangements and have since Jan. 1 been implementing an "early harvest program" as the first step toward a free trade agreement.
"We look forward to further enhancing the arrangements into a free trade agreement," he was quoted as saying.
Bilateral trade reportedly leapt from $3 billion in 2005 to 4.26 billion last year.
Musharraf called for Chinese investment in the energy, telecommunications, agriculture, food and food processing, real estate, textile and infrastructure sectors, and suggested Pakistan could serve as a trade and energy corridor for China to interact with the rest of the world.
China has supplied a nuclear power plant to Pakistan, and construction of a second China-assisted one began last December. Pakistani government officials say talks are in progress with China National Nuclear Corp. for the setting up of a third one. In June, China will finish helping deepen Pakistan's Gwadar port.
China has also helped Pakistan set up several defense-related production facilities. The two countries are cooperating in the development of a fighter-bomber aircraft for Pakistan's air force.
Last week, a Pakistani separatist group killed three Chinese engineers in restive Baluchistan Province near Karachi.
In his meeting with Wu, Musharraf expressed his condolences over the death of the Chinese engineers condemned the "terrorists" attempts to damage Pakistan-China relations, Xinhua reported.
Wu was quoted as saying the Chinese people are shocked over the murders, while expressing hope that the Pakistani side would take effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens in Pakistan.
During his stay in China, Musharraf will also visit Sichuan Province in southwestern China.
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