China has pledged to help Pakistan steer clear of defaulting on upcoming international debt payments, the Financial Times reported. Islamabad is looking to plug a US$10 billion hole in external financing in the financial year to June 2009 even as its currency continues to fall in value and its liquid foreign currency reserves dry up. One Pakistani official said Beijing had made an initial commitment of US$500 million and promised more if required. Officials from China’s Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the bailout. Premier Wen Jiabao told Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in a meeting on Thursday that China would "continue to offer all possible assistance to help Pakistan overcome its current economic difficulties." Any commitment to support Pakistan may result in China facing requests for help from other nations hit hard by the global financial crisis.
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