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ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will visit China in the first week of November on the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, he said the invitation was extended by the Chinese president to the prime minister during a meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) event.

He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had also invited the prime minister to visit Moscow and that visit would also take place.

The defence minister said that the Chinese president, during his meeting with Prime Minister Sharif, called the latter “an efficient and pragmatic leader” and expressed his own commitment to vigorously take forward the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. He said that President Xi described Pakistan as an “all-weather strategic friend”.

PM leaves Uzbekistan 'on satisfactory note' after attending SCO Summit

Mr Asif said that the Russian president during his meeting with Mr Sharif appreciated Pakistan’s position on Ukraine. He said that Russia had shown a willingness to export wheat and gas to Pakistan.

The defence minister added that the SCO members had expressed readiness to support and cooperate with Pakistan, which is facing unprecedented floods.

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