Jun 27

Nawaz to visit China on July 4

NAWAZ VS CHINA1ISLAMABAD: On his first overseas visit since assuming office, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would travel to China on July 4 as his first visit since assuming office, a foreign ministry official said.

Mr Sharif was invited by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang when he visited Islamabad last month.

According to the report, during his stay in Beijing Mr Sharif will discuss with the Chinese leadership plans for reinforcing bilateral strategic partnership, enhancing economic cooperation and development of Pakistan-China trade and economic corridor. He is also likely to seek Chinese assistance in overcoming the energy crisis in Pakistan.

Premier Keqiang had during his visit also identified energy as a priority area for cooperation.

An advance team led by Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal visited Beijing to discuss details of the prime minister’s upcoming visit. Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz will not be accompanying Mr Sharif on his first overseas trip.

Dec 13

Mass 12/12/12 weddings in Hong Kong, Singapore, China

Hong Kong: Thousands of couples in Hong Kong, mainland China and Singapore flocked Wednesday to tie the knot on 12/12/12, seeking good fortune for marriages begun on the century’s last repeating date.weddings-1

Authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore respectively said 696 and 540 couples were scheduled to attend marriage registries, continuing a trend which has seen couples flocking to marry on 11/11/11 and 10/10/10 in both cities.

The figure is a near-fourfold increase compared to the daily average in the self-governing Chinese city of Hong Kong and about an eightfold spike for non-Muslim weddings in Singapore, which is three-quarters ethnic Chinese.

Couples also queued to marry in many mainland Chinese cities, on the basis that 12/12/12 sounded like “Will love/will love/will love” in Chinese, the official news agency Xinhua reported.

The atmosphere was abuzz with hundreds of people crowding one of Hong Kong’s five marriage registries, taking photos of brides and grooms in full wedding regalia as they congratulated the newlyweds.weddings-2

 “Today’s date is very special and we can get married before doomsday as well,” joked 34-year-old groom Raymond Ip.

Some doomsayers believe December 21 could be the date the world ends.

“There won’t be a 13/13/13,” Ip said, adding that he had booked the day half-a-year in advance to secure a spot.

Groom Terance Fung, 29, agreed. “Today is the last day of the century with the same date numbers, so it is quite special,” he said.

In Singapore, hundreds of couples and family members trooped in batches to the marriage registry despite pouring rain.

12/12/12 was, however, a less popular day to tie the knot than previous sequential dates.

Hong Kong saw 1,002 weddings on November 11, 2011, which signified “Eternal love”, and 859 weddings on October 10, 2010 which represented “Perfection”.

Singapore had 553 and 724 marriages respectively on the same dates. The all-time high for a single day there was on February 14, 1995, when 1,082 couples were married because the western and Chinese Valentine’s Day coincided.

Extra staff were deployed at the marriage registry at Changchun, in China’s northeastern province of Jilin, where 2,000 couples were expected.

But the office director Wang Zhe played down the significance of so-called lucky dates.

“Every day is a lucky day to get married and it will be the most unforgettable day of their lives,” Wang was quoted as saying.

Sep 04

China to take charge of Pakistan’s Gwadar Port

BEIJING – Ahead of Pakistan’s Premier Raja Pervez Ashraf’s visit, China on Tuesday tacitly confirmed reports that it was taking over the strategic Gwadar deep water port in Balochistan, which it may convert into an oil pipeline hub to augment its energy supplies from the Gulf.gawadar port
Talking about Pakistan’s Shipping Minister Babar Khan Ghauri’s remarks that China may take over the port operations with USD 10 billion investment following pullout of Singapore Port Authority (SPA); Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said both countries are engaged in cooperation to build infrastructure projects.
“China and Pakistan are neighbours of traditional friendship. Over the years, China and Pakistan have engaged in wide-ranging cooperation in all fields including infrastructure construction with a view to helping Pakistan improve people’s well-being and promote social and economic development,” Hong said in a written response to a query.
“Such cooperation is also beneficial to regional stability and development,” he said, without directly referring to Babar’s comments.
He also did not say whether the issue would be discussed during Ashraf’s visit to attend the World Economic Forum 2012, also known as Summer Davos, starting from September 11 at Tianjin city.
The forum would be inaugurated by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who is expected to hold talks with Ashraf on its sidelines.