President Asif Ali Zardari met his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on Wednesday as he looked to Islamabad's loyal ally for crucial financial and nuclear energy investments. Zardari, on his first state trip since taking office in September, was welcomed by Hu at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, the seat of power in China. The two leaders were to sign agreements as part of a four-day trip that the Pakistani leader has said would focus on economic ties and which reports have said could include China offering a loan to its nearly bankrupt ally. Hu extended an effusive welcome stressing close bilateral ties going back to the premiership of Zardari's late wife Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated last December, and her father, late president Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. "Your entire family are old friends of the Chinese people," Hu told Zardari. "This is something we will never forget."