BEIJING: Chinese Defence Minister Gen Wei Fenghe on Tuesday called for scaling-up the very close military ties between China and Pakistan to a "higher level" to jointly deal with "risks and challenges" faced by the two countries.
Wei held talks with Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in Islamabad on Monday and signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen defence cooperation between the all-weather allies.
"We should push the mil-to-mil relationship to a higher level, so as to jointly cope with various risks and challenges, firmly safeguard the sovereignty and security interests of the two countries, and safeguard the regional peace and stability," the Chinese Ministry of Defence here quoted Wei as saying.
The Chinese statement was also silent about the new MoU.
Both countries rarely disclose the extent of their defence ties which spans all sectors of the army, air force and the navy.
China is the major defence supplier to Pakistan, providing the fighter jets to modern naval frigates and other major armaments.
Gen Wei also met with Pakistan President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan, the statement said on Tuesday.
Alvi said that Pakistan and China are good friends who have enjoyed a traditional friendship of long history and mutual trust.
Pakistan firmly supports China's stand on issues related to the South China Sea, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and so on.
"We hope that the two countries will further strengthen cooperation in the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as well as the defense and security fields," President Alvi was quoted as saying by the PLA Daily.
Prime Minister Khan said that Chinese Defense Minister Wei's visit is of great significance in the context of the global pandemic, which shows the firm support of the Chinese government and military to Pakistan.
During his meeting with Gen Bajwa, the two military officials exchanged in-depth views on the international and regional situations, the relations between the two countries and militaries, the equipment and technology cooperation and other issues, the Chinese statement said.
In his meetings with Pakistani leaders, Gen Wei said that the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership is unique in the world.
Under the leadership of the heads of the two countries, the two sides have continuously strengthened cooperation in various fields and firmly supported each other on issues involving each other's core interests, he said.
"China is willing to strengthen strategic communication, enhance strategic mutual trust and strengthen strategic cooperation with Pakistan," he said.
Gen Wei, who is also the State Councillor, arrived in Pakistan after completing a day-long visit to Nepal on Sunday.