Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will travel to China in November and has also accepted an invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Moscow, the defence ministry said on Saturday.

Addressing a news conference, defence minister Khawaja Asif said Chinese President Xi Jingping had extended an invitation to Sharif to visit China during a meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, which concluded on Friday.

Sharif will visit China in the first week of November, he said.

A strategic friend

The defence minister said during the talks between Xi and Sharif, the Chinese president described Pakistan as an all-weather strategic friend and reiterated the commitment to vigorously take forward the $60-billion China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Khawaja Asif said Putin during his meeting with Sharif on the sidelines of the SCO summit appreciated Pakistan's position on Ukraine.

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Asif said the SCO members have expressed readiness to support Pakistan, which is facing unprecedented floods.

Launched in Shanghai in June 2001, the SCO has eight full members, including its six founding members, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined as full members in 2017.

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