DUNHUANG - Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid on Monday said that Pakistan and China relations were based on solid foundations and over the years had seen comprehensive growth in every area, including steady and uninterrupted growth in cultural ties.

He was talking to Minister for Culture of China Luo Shugang, who met him on the sidelines of the Silk Road International Cultural Expo being held in Gansu, a province of China.

The Chinese Minister said that the meeting with Minister of Pakistan, which is an important country along the Silk Road, was of special significance as it was being held at a time when nations along the silk route had gathered to discuss ways of cultural promotion.

About 85 countries from all over the world are participating in the expo.

He said that 13 cultural exchange programmes have been implemented with Pakistan which are the highest number of programmes undertaken with any country in the world.

This year China is going to send more cultural troupes which will be tailored to the needs of Pakistani culture so that people to people contacts could be further deepened and made more meaningful, he said.

He also thanked the government of Pakistan for facilitating the establishment of a cultural center in Islamabad.

Luo Shugang said that there was rapid increase in admission of students learning Urdu in Chinese universities which reflected increasing interest in Pakistan.

He showed keen interest in identifying specific areas for expanding and deepening cultural relations between the two countries.

He said that China would also encourage its Western regions in addition to other regions having close proximity to Pakistan to establish people to people direct links.

China was ready to help in human resource development and management of artists institutions, he added.

Pervaiz thanked the government of China for the invitation and hospitality.

He said that the bilateral relations transcended formalities and were rooted deep in the hearts and minds of the people of China and Pakistan.

Responding to China’s desire to take the relationship to the next level, he said that Pakistan will work closely for cooperation in all fields including cultural relations and the people and the government of China will always find them working hand in hand.

The Information Minister accepted the invitation to visit China and also invited the Chinese Minister for Culture to visit Pakistan on a mutually convenient time which would be worked out through diplomatic channels.