Asif Ali Zardari was due to meet his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on Wednesday as he looks to Islamabad's loyal ally for crucial financial and nuclear energy investments. Zardari, who landed in Beijing for his first state trip since taking office in September, was to meet Hu in the afternoon and sign agreements as part of a four-day trip that the Pakistani leader has said would focus on economic ties. The Financial Times newspaper has reported, without citing sources, that Zardari would seek a soft loan of between 500 million and 1.5 billion dollars from China to help cash-strapped Pakistan out of a financial crisis. The global financial crisis has pushed Pakistan closer to the financial brink. Reports, denied by Islamabad, have said the country faces bankruptcy as early as February. "We have a lot of cultural ties, friendly ties, but that is not properly depicted by our economic relationship," Zardari told China's official Xinhua news agency before departing Pakistan. "China is the future of the world. A strong China means a strong Pakistan." Pakistan's ambassador to China, Masood Khan, also said in an interview with a private TV that an agreement on a civilian nuclear pact with China could be reached during the trip. China's foreign ministry has confirmed the subject would be discussed but gave no specifics. Any agreement would come after the US last week signed a deal with Pakistan's rival, India, to open up sales of civilian nuclear technology to New Delhi for the first time in three decades. Liu Xuecheng, a researcher with the China Institute of International Studies, said any such agreement should not raise alarm bells for other countries. "The nuclear cooperation between China and Pakistan is confined to civilian use. It has lasted for some time and ... will continue," Liu said. "We should view this with a normal mentality. We should not view the relationship among these countries with a Cold-War attitude." The visit also comes as Islamabad's anti-terror alliance with Washington has become strained amid American impatience with Pakistani efforts to root out Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters in its lawless border region. Zardari said in his interview with Xinhua that he would seek to step up co-operation with China in the fight against terrorism. China has long been one of Pakistan's closest political and economic partners, with Beijing looking to Islamabad as a counterbalance to India.