ISLAMABAD, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan and China on Saturday officially launched the Pakistan-China Friendship Year of 2011 in Islamabad, which will feature a year-long celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Addressing a ceremony in the Pakistan-China Friendship Center, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said a series of events and activities will begin countrywide with the start of 2011, which was declared as the Year of Friendship by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani during Wen's visit to Pakistan in December.
Qureshi termed the ceremony held in the friendship center as significant, saying the cultural complex itself, recently inaugurated by Wen and Gilani, is a symbol of the friendship between the two neighbors.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Liu Jian said the Chinese premier paid a successful and historic visit to Pakistan and the year of 2010 witnessed a continued, stable and vigorous growth of the strategic partnership of bilateral cooperation.
Liu said China and Pakistan will hold a series of wonderful commemorative activities covering such fields as politics, economy, culture, education, sports, military and others in the new year.
He believed that all the activities will further promote mutual understanding and brotherly friendship between the two peoples and bring the all-weather relations to a new high.
At the ceremony, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir conveyed the congratulatory messages from Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on the commencement of the Pakistan-China Friendship Year.