On January1,2011, in a heartwarming ceremony held in the Pakistan-China Friendship Centre at Islamabad, yet another gift from the People‟s Republic of China, the Pakistan-China Friendship Year waslaunched. The Friendship Year, which coincides with the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, provides a timely occasion to take stock of their bilateral ties which have been described by the most adulatory metaphors possible. There could have been no better backdrop for this exercise than the recently concluded visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Pakistan on 17-19 December, 2010. In glaring contrast to the summit level visits from USA, UK, France and Russia in quick succession confined to India alone, the Chinese Premier paid back-to-back official visits to India as well as Pakistan.
In his arrival statement in Islamabad on 17 December, 2010 Premier Wen Jiabao declared that it was a firm policy of theChinese Government to further cement and deepen the strategic partnership of cooperation with Pakistan, which his visit will push to a new high. Addressing the Pakistani Parliament on 19 December, 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao lyrically waxed that “the friendship between China and Pakistan is deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples. It is in our blood, and has become our noble and firm conviction.” These sentiments were reciprocated in equal measure by the rhapsodic Pakistani leadership and people. They stressed that pursuing friendship with China was the bedrock of Pakistan‟s foreign policy, enjoying national consensus. The Joint Statement issued at the conclusion of the visit on 19 December, 2010 expressed the shared view that “the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation … has gone beyond bilateral dimensions and acquired broader regional and international ramifications.”