China and Pakistan on Thursday outlined their space cooperation plan for the next eight years, which will be an important area for the two neighbors to boost bilateral cooperation as "all-weather friends".
President Hu Jintao and his visiting Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari also agreed to deepen cooperation in areas including security, the economy and trade, investment, transportation infrastructure and energy.
Zardari arrived in Beijing earlier this week for the visit and attended the 12th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit on Wednesday and Thursday. Pakistan is an observer state of the organization, which groups Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
After their talks on Thursday afternoon, Hu and Zardari witnessed the signing of a 2012-20 space cooperation outline between the China National Space Administration and the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission.
Hu said he hopes the two countries expand their pragmatic cooperation, especially in the sectors of trade, energy, transportation infrastructure construction, agriculture, telecommunications, aerospace and technology.
Analysts said China-Pakistan space cooperation is timely and mutually beneficial, and adds a new dimension to their already robust relationship.
"China is looking for a market for its growing space expertise. And Pakistan needs assistance with soft loans, training of its scientists and know-how in space sciences," Ghulam Ali, of the Institute of International Relations of National Chengchi University in Taipei, wrote in an article published on the website of East Asia Forum.
"This cooperation adds a new dimension to their already robust relationship. It brings Pakistan closer to China than ever before."
On Aug 11, China successfully launched Pakistan's communication satellite, Paksat-1R, intospace from its Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province.
"China will continue to provide assistance for Pakistan's economic and social development within our capacity," Hu said.
Hu said China encourages and supports its companies to participate in Pakistan's energy and power projects.
He also suggested the two countries enhance law enforcement and security cooperation and jointly combat the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism.
Hailing Sino-Pakistani ties as an "all-weather friendly cooperative relationship", Zardari thanked China for its support of Pakistan's domestic stability, development and assistance to the country after natural disasters.
Zardari said he welcomes Chinese enterprises to expand investments in Pakistan, especially in infrastructure construction and the energy sector, so as to safeguard Pakistan's economic development and improve people's living standards.
"Pakistan will continue to support China on issues concerning China's core interests and be tough on terrorism", Zardari said.