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UPDATED: January 30, 2015 Web Exclusive
Friendship Grows in the Hearts of the People
China-Pakistan Year of Friendly Exchanges 2015 launched in Beijing
By Pan Xiaoqiao

LAUNCHING CEREMONY: Pakistani children join the celebration of the China-Pakistan Year of Friendly Exchanges opening ceremony in a colorful presentation in Beijing on January 28 (YIN PENGXUAN)

The China-Pakistan Year of Friendly Exchanges was launched in Beijing on January 28, marked by its official commencement--the first in a series of activities the two countries plan to celebrate jointly throughout the year.

Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan Sardar Ayaz Sadiq led a delegation of parliamentarians from Pakistan to attend the inauguration of the celebrations of the friendly exchanges year.

Pakistan's Ambassador to China, Masood Khalid, said in his welcoming remarks that the friendship between the two countries was etched in the hearts and minds of the two peoples. China and Pakistan--described as 'iron-brothers'--base their cooperative strategic partnership on a mutual trust that has stood the tests of times. The ambassador said bilateral exchanges between leaders, trade, cultural cooperation, and people-to-people contacts were at an all-time high, adding that the year 2015 had made a promising start with increased interaction at all levels and much more to come.

Feng Zuoku, Vice President of the Chinese People's Association of Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), who also attended the ceremony, said that China and Pakistan were good neighbors linked by mountains and rivers. Over the past 64 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Pakistan have developed a time-tested friendship wherein bilateral relations grew even closer while the political foundation of their friendship became more solid. "We treat each other with sincerity, support each other and cooperate for mutual benefits, which makes our bilateral friendship resonate in the hearts of the peoples," Feng said.

According to Feng, CPAFFC has sent a Chinese medical team of eye doctors to Pakistan on two occasions in recent years. The China-Pakistan Bringing Light Tour program in Islamabad and Multan provided free cataract operations to more than 1,000 Pakistanis. Personnel exchanges and training of government employees have also been conducted. To promote bilateral relations, CPAFFC re-organized the China-Pakistan Friendship Association last year.

Last February, after a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, the Joint Statement on Deepening China-Pakistan Strategic and Economic Cooperation was issued, in which both sides agreed on designating 2015 as the China-Pakistan Year of Friendly Exchanges.

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