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Islamabad

September 2, 2015

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CPEC important for regional development

A lot has been said and written about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and this important initiative once again came into focus when journalists from Pakistan and Afghanistan attended a briefing at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing recently. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao, while briefing journalists, reiterated Beijing's commitment and resolve for completion of this very important project, which he termed imperative for regional development.
Liu Jianchao made it absolutely clear that the basic purpose of building China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was to improve regional development, therefore, it was dire need of the hour that all countries in the region should support this important initiative. "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has not only set up the strategic framework for increasing cooperation between China and Pakistan but it would also contribute to development and prosperity of the whole region," he added.
CPEC is not limited to a road but it will connect the country with a number of motorways and infrastructure projects.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a development programme to connect Gwadar Port in southern Pakistan to China's north-western autonomous region of Xinjiang via highways, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas.
When the corridor will be completed, it will serve as a primary gateway for trade between China and the Middle East and Africa.
Pakistan and China have signed agreements for constructing an international airport at Gwadar, upgrading a section of the 1,300-kilometre long Karakorum Highway connecting to Islamabad and laying a fibre-optic cable from the Chinese border to the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi. With the development of the corridor Central Asia, traditionally and economically closed region owing to its geography and lack of infrastructure, will have greater access to the sea and to the global trade network.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Secretariat

was inaugurated in Islamabad on August 27, 2013.
On November 2014, Chinese government announced that it will finance Chinese companies to build US$45.6 billion worth of energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan as part of CPEC.
Documents show that China has promised to invest around $33.8 billion in various energy projects and $11.8 billion in infrastructure projects which will be completed by 2017 at most. The deal includes $622 million for Gwadar Port.
Under the CPEC agreement, $15.5 billion worth of coal, wind, solar and hydro energy projects will add 10,400 megawatts of energy to the national grid of Pakistan.
Physically, the corridor is a 2,700-kilometre highway that stretches from Kashghar to Gwadar through Khunjrab.
But in essence, these road and rail links will further strengthen the bond of brotherhood, as highlighted by the two governments.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor from Kashgar to Gwadar will integrate the economies of the two friendly countries. The project is establishing several economic zones and physical links connecting Pakistan and China.
Both the countries believe that this economic corridor will benefit new emerging regional cooperation in South Asia.
This project is set out to transform the future of the region, driven by economy and energy, and the building of pipelines and ports with roads rail infrastructure.
When asked to comment over the Zarb-e-Azb operation launched by Pakistan to crush militants network in northeast of Pakistan, the Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister said that China pays glowing tributes to the sacrifices offered by the people, government and the military in fighting the menace of terrorism.
During the briefing Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao also deliberated upon the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan. The Chinese minister made it clear that the peace talks were the only way out for the Afghan peace and progress and this process must continue. "No one should cast doubts about the intentions and commitment of any party involved in the talks, and rather all must adopt a positive and constructive attitude," he said adding Pakistan and China set the stage for peace talks as Afghan government and Taliban wanted to take this initiative forward. We will keep working for success of the peace talks as both the parties have expressed their trust in Pakistan and China.
The Chinese minister while commenting on the recent border conflicts between Pakistan and India said that China has also a better relationship with India which was improving, therefore, as a friend Beijing doesn't want to impose any idea but we would keep working to help Pakistan and India find a solution to their problems as soon as possible. "We hope Pakistan and India will not allow escalating their differences into a conflict," he added.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister also hinted China's skepticism about Indian bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.
"As far the reform of the UNSC is concerned, China believes that the number of permanent members in the UNSC should increase with consensus of all the member states and there should be no rush towards the subject matter. Consensus is key in this regard," he added.

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