China-Pakistan Economic Corridor unveiled

President Xi inaugurated a $45 billion investment plan on Monday (20-04-2015) that aims to create direct links between China and the Arabian Sea and boost the sluggish Pakistani economy.
Islamabad and Beijing hope the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will transform Pakistan into a regional economic hub and bring growth to the restive western Chinese region of Xinjiang.
The corridor scheme is part of Beijing´s "Belt and Road" plan to expand its trade and transport footprint across Central and South Asia, while countering US and Indian influence.
The projected investments, $28 billion of which were signed during the course of Xi´s visit, dwarf a US assistance package to Pakistan of $5 billion that began in 2010 but has made less impact than hoped.
They foresee the creation of road, rail and pipeline links that will connect China to the Arabian Sea, cutting several thousand kilometres off the route that transports oil from the Middle East.
The upgrade will stretch 3,000 kilometres from China´s western city of Kashgar to the port of Gwadar, control of which was transferred to a Chinese public company in 2013.
Ahsan Iqbal, the minister overseeing the projects, said $11 billion has been set aside for infrastructure work, while the remaining $35 billion will go on energy projects. Much of the investment will be in the form of discounted loans.
Pakistan and China inked together 51 MoUs together in diverse sectors. 30 out of 51 agreements signed were linked with the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The projects and agreements signed include Karot 720 MW hydroelectric project; Daud, Jhimpir and Sachal wind power projects, 100 MW solar power plant; joint statement on strategic cooperative partnership, Pakistan-China technical and economic cooperation agreement, and agreement on launching of Dosti Channel between Radio Pakistan and Chinese Radio International.
Pakistan and China expressed satisfaction at the growing volume of bilateral trade, which has crossed 15 billion dollars and agreed to make efforts to raise it to 20 billion dollars in next three years.
The two sides believed that the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives represent a new model of regional and South-South cooperation.
The two sides agreed to further enhance defence and maritime cooperation, maintain high-level visits and exchanges at various levels between relevant departments of the two armed forces.
They reaffirmed their commitment to multilateral non-discriminatory arms control and non-proliferation endeavours. They agreed to continue bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energy under IAEA safeguards, in line with their respective bilateral and multilateral commitments.
China appreciates and supports steps taken by Pakistan towards its mainstreaming into the global non-proliferation regime. In this context, China welcomes Pakistan’s engagement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
The two sides believe that the evolving situation in Afghanistan has immediate implications for regional security and stability.

Source: The News