Gillani’s Visit to China and SCO Membership for Pakistan

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Context

Pakistan on Monday said that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani’s trip to China would give fresh momentum to the enhancing ties between Islamabad and Beijing. Gillani is due to arrive in Shanghai on Tuesday to commence a four-day trip to China as the two nations get ready to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations on Saturday. “One of the major targets of Prime Minister Gillani’s visit to China is to cement economic ties between our two countries,” said Masood Ahmed Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, adding that Gillani will launch the first Pakistan-China Entrepreneur Forum.

Additionally, media reports indicate that Pakistan and India would be offered full membership during the June 15 Shanghai Cooperation Conference Organization (SCO) summit meeting being held in Astana. Afghanistan is also likely to be given an Observer Status, for which it has applied against the wishes of US. These developments are being interpreted as the move away of the South and Central Asia region, from NATO alliance, and into the domain of China-Russia dominated SCO.

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