Kayani leaves for 5-day visit to China

Islamabad: Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani today embarked on a five-day official visit to China at the invitation of the Chinese leadership. The visit comes amidst continuing tensions in Pakistan`s relations with the US.

The powerful army chief will call on the political and military leadership of China during the visit, the Inter-Services Public Relations said in a brief statement. Kayani`s interactions will "encompass the complete range of Pakistan-China relations related to security and defence", the statement said without giving details.

China is the largest supplier of military equipment to Pakistan. In recent years, China has provided Pakistan frigates, combat jets and other gear at subsidised prices or against soft loans.

Late last month, top Chinese diplomat Dai Bingguo had visited Pakistan amidst heightened tensions following the November 26 cross-border NATO attack in which 24 soldiers of the country were killed and open discord between government and army over a memo alleging an army plot to seize power.