Top Chinese min in Islamabad amid US-Pak row

Islamabad: China`s Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu arrived in Islamabad for a two-day visit against the backdrop of growing tensions between Pakistan and the US over accusations that the Pakistani spy agency ISI was involved in waging a proxy war in Afghanistan.

Meng, China`s top security official, met Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani shortly after his arrival in the capital.

The two leaders discussed the situation in the region and the war on terrorism, sources said.

There was no official word on the meeting.

The Chinese minister is expected to meet Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and attend a banquet hosted in his honour by President Asif Ali Zardari.

He will hold talks with the political and military leadership on bilateral relations, the regional situation and matters of mutual interest, officials said.

Meng was received at the Chaklala military airbase in Rawalpindi by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who sought to play down questions from reporters about the Chinese leader visiting Pakistan at a time of heightened tensions with the US.

"Lets not talk (about the) US here. I am here with my friend (from) China. China is always there for us in the most difficult moments," Malik said.

The Foreign Office spokesperson said Mengs visit was prescheduled and in the context of the 60th anniversary of Sino-Pakistan ties.

Meng said his discussions with Pakistani leaders would focus on ways to "contribute to national security and regional stability".

Cooperation against Uighur Chinese militants would also be discussed, Malik said.