Pakistan's Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said on Thursday that the friendship between Pakistan and China is getting stronger and more multidimensional with new avenues of cooperation in social and economic sectors.

"Pakistan and China have a long history of friendship, but now it is deepening and strengthening with the passage of time. Our economic and social cooperation is improving, and interaction between civil societies of the two countries is growing," the minister said, adding that this is indeed a new era in which already good friendship between the two countries is becoming even stronger.

Mahmood made the remarks during a ceremony held in Islamabad for distribution of "Panda Packs" among 20,000 students in grade 1-5 studying at government schools mostly in rural areas of the federal capital by the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in collaboration with China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation.

Inside the donated packs are lunch box, color pencil, eraser, sharpener and other stationery which would help learners to further improve their educational ability and interest in school. The distribution of donated packs is a proof of the growing multi-faceted relations between the two countries, he said.

Considering the increasing demand of skilled manpower in the country, the minister said vocational training institutes are being set up with the help of China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to impart necessary skills to meet the demands of the local industries. "This will further strengthen the partnership between the two countries," he said.

Speaking at the event, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said China is ready to help Pakistan in the field of education, adding that through a new sector of socio-economic cooperation under CPEC, hospitals, schools and vocational training centers will be established, and scholarships will also be offered to Pakistani students.

"The relationship between China and Pakistan has been for quite a long term, but this new momentum between the peoples, between the societies, between the communities, is just growing day by day," Yao said.

Abrar ul Haq, chairman of PRCS, said around 61 percent population of Pakistan lives in rural areas, where educational facilities are not up to the mark. He said the distribution of school bags among rural students is a highly welcome initiative.

"China has always been on the forefront in helping Pakistan in the time of need," Haq said while hoping that cooperation between the PRCS and the Red Cross Society of China will further grow to come to serve humanity together.