Beijing - Pakistan and China have discussed co-producing ballistic missiles and advanced military aircraft as the Pakistani army chief made his first visit to Beijing, Chinese media reported on Friday.
China had provided "authorisation to Pakistan to produce ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-ship missiles and main battle tanks in Pakistan," the Global Times, a tabloid published by the official People's Daily, reported, citing Song Zhongping, a former officer of the PLA Second Artillery Corps.
He said other weapons exchanges would be discussed besides missiles, including the "mass production of FC-1 Xiaolong, a lightweight and multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the two countries".
China's Foreign Ministry said it was not aware of any missile cooperation agreement, which was also not mentioned in the Defence Ministry's official statement of the meetings. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said: "The Chinese military released information on meetings between the Pakistan Chief of Army Staff with his [Chinese] counterpart. From the news release we didn't see anything on an agreement on ballistic missiles. What I can tell you is China and Pakistan maintain normal defence exchanges and relevant cooperation."
On Thursday, Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa met top PLA officials including Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission General Fan Changlong, General Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department, and Army Commander General Li Zuocheng.
Unusually for a military chief, he also met Politburo Standing Committee member Zhang Gaoli, the seventh-ranked leader.
Both sides also discussed "anti-terrorism cooperation at the meeting, vowing to resolutely strike against terrorist forces including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement". "Pakistan's military is willing to deepen the cooperation with the Chinese army and fully support the Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism in Counter Terrorism by Afghanistan-China-Pakistan-Tajikistan Armed Forces," Bajwa said.
This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 18-Mar-2017 here.