ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that the two-day visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping will usher in a new era of development in Pakistan.

Talking to the top executives of three leading Chinese companies, China Huaneng Group, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Zonergy Corporation at the prime minister house, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the government would extend all possible facilitation to the Chinese companies to ensure timely completion of the planned projects.

The premier appreciated the role of the companies for undertaking various projects in Pakistan including ones that are part of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (PCEC) Project.

He said that Pakistan is facing acute shortage of energy and the government has made a commitment to the people of Pakistan to meet this shortage during its tenure, hence a lot of emphasis is being laid on timely completion of these projects, particularly those in the energy sector.

Nawaz was pleased to note that ICBC, the largest bank in the world, will look into the possibility of setting up economic zones in Pakistan.

Leaders of the Chinese delegation said the strong Pakistan-China friendship provides an excellent platform for boosting business relations between the two countries and said they are pleased to be part of building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Muhammad Asif, Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Khalid and Secretary Water and Power Younus Dagha also attended the meeting.

Chinese president arrives in Islamabad on historic visit

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Islamabad on his maiden visit to Pakistan on Monday. The much anticipated visit is the first by a Chinese president to Pakistan after nine years.

The Chinese president was received at the Noor Khan airbase by President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Raheel Sharif, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif and members of the prime minister's cabinet.

Accompanying the Chinese president is a high-level delegation comprising businessmen, high-level functionaries of the Communist Party of China and senior government officials.

A 21-gun salute and guard of honour was presented to welcome the Chinese president.

Children clad in colourful traditional clothes waved Pakistani and Chinese flags and sang anthems of Pakistan-China friendship as the Chinese President and the first lady passed by, Radio Pakistan reported.

The Chinese President shook hands with the children who also showered rose petals on the visiting guest. Traditional folk dance was also presented on the occasion.