President Asif Ali Zardari may sign a preliminary civilian nuclear pact with China during his state visit to the country, Pakistan's ambassador to China said Tuesday. Masood Khan, speaking to media in Beijing as Zardari arrived for his first state visit abroad, hinted that a nuclear deal could be on the cards during four days of talks. "Both countries have always supported the peaceful use of civil nuclear energy," Khan said, according to the station's website, adding that an agreement was "expected in this connection." India, Pakistan's arch-rival, signed a major pact with the US last week opening up sales of civilian nuclear technology to India for the first time in three decades.