Farzana Raja Pak-China friendship is rooted in the ethos of the people and will continue to gain strength in the days to come. This friendship is time-tested and is progressing by leaps and bounds. Indeed, the exemplary friendship between the two countries is higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the Indian Ocean. We are proud of our friendship with China and it lives in the heart of every Pakistani. Shaheed Zulfikar All Bhutto, the founding Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, was the architect of this wonderful mutual bond between the two countries. Undoubtedly, these ties were strengthened during the premiership of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. Advancing the legacy of Bhuttos, the present democratic government has given special priority to enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries in various sectors of the economy. The governments of both the neighbouring countries have time and again vowed to further consolidate the Pakistan-China strategic partnership, with the main objective of promoting and safeguarding the fundamental interests of their people. The leadership of both the countries have expressed their firm resolve to carry forward the decades-old close friendship for their mutual benefits. The people of the two countries have also successfully carried forward this evergreen friendship, under all adversities. They stood by each other through thick and thin and proved the worth of their friendship, meeting common challenges at regional and international levels. The present democratic government assigns tremendous value to mutual cooperation between the two countries, while terming China as a true friend of Pakistan. Hence, the government wishes to further strengthen our multifaceted relations particularly in trade, investment and defence. China has provided valuable assistance in Chashma I and II nuclear power plants and it is also expected that the other projects would soon materialise. China provided Pakistan assistance and support in important projects like Karakorum Highway, Heavy Mechanical Complex Taxila, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra, Gwadar Port, Mangla Dam de-silting and raising, Bhasha Dam, and JF-17 Aircraft and Naval Frigates. President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari has declared China as a focal point of the foreign policy of the present democratic regime. He has time and again recalled the contributions of Shaheed Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Shaheed in nurturing and strengthening these ties and reiterated that the PPP would continue to enhance this glorious legacy. Pakistan and China have a comprehensive framework for bilateral economic cooperation in the form of a Five-Year Economic Cooperation Programme as well, and both countries have more than 200 agreements between them. This provides a solid foundation to take our economic cooperation forward. In this connection, the recent visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was crucial to the enhancement of economic cooperation between Pakistan and China. Pakistans trade with China is continuously growing. Our exports witnessed a 37 percent surge last year, while bilateral trade is expected to touch $15 billion to $18 billion in the next five years. In the present global scenario, the time-tested relations between Pakistan and China, who support each other at all international forums, cannot be compared with Beijings ties with any other country. Recently, the Pakistani PM has rightly said that Pak-China relations are special, as they are rooted in the ethos of the people of the two countries. Pakistan and China have always stood together at all times. It is for this reason that our friendship is described as an all-weather friendship. The Chinese Premier held meetings with the Pakistani leadership, interacted with businessmen and entrepreneurs, and also addressed a joint sitting of Pakistans Parliament during his visit. Hence, his visit has further boosted the socio-economic ties, which were envisioned and dreamt by the two legendary Bhuttos. The writer is a federal minister and chairperson of the Benazir Income Support Programme.