Islamabad- Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed willingness to visit Pakistan on March 23, to attend Pakistan Day parade, in response to what diplomatic sources said Obama’s visit to India to attend Republic Day.

Sources said that China has almost given consent to Pakistan’s invitation to Chinese President to attend Pakistan Day parade on March 23 this year, an annual event being held after the gap of seven years. Due to terrorism, the country has not held the event since 2007.

Sources said that Pakistan was not happy over President Obama’s recent visit to India by ignoring its front-line ally in ongoing war against terror. In what sources said tit-for-tat response to US President visit to India, Pakistan started effort to request Chinese President to Pakistan Day parade, to give message to the world and regional countries that Pakistan is not alone and any effort to corner China or Pakistan would be frustrated by the two countries jointly.

On Thursday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson told media in Beijing: “We are willing to keep this momentum with the Pakistan side.” Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesperson Hong Lei was responding a question in media briefing about the invitation for President Xi.

Underscoring the importance of high-level visits between the two countries, Mr Lei said “China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners of cooperation, and the two sides maintain frequent high-level exchanges which serve as inexhaustible driving force for China-Pakistan relations.”

President Xi was to visit Pakistan in August last year, but postponed the trip because of anti-government protests by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek in Islamabad. Beijing and Islamabad have always been close regional allies. But US President Barack Obama’s visit to India last month brought them further closer.

Quite a few countries had concerns about the various agreements concluded between India and the US, but Pakistan and China reacted sharply. Statements on President Obama’s visit from both capitals expressed concerns over threats to regional stability from the reinvigorated US-India partnership and hoped that the Obama administration would contribute to regional peace and security.

Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif, who dashed to China when Obama was in India, had won strong assurances from the Chinese leadership on defence and security cooperation. The Chinese foreign minister is likely to arrive in Islamabad on Feb 12, prior to the expected visit of the Chinese president .