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Pakistan PM Sharif to visit China for formal launch of CPEC Phase 2

Photo : Reuters

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is set to embark on a significant visit to China in early June for the formal launch of the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), reported Dawn newspaper. The visit, scheduled for June 4, aims to bolster economic ties between the two countries.

The CPEC, a flagship project under China's Belt and Road Initiative, connects Gwadar Port in Pakistan to China's Xinjiang province. It has faced opposition from India due to its route passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

In the first phase of CPEC, infrastructure and energy projects were the focus. Now, in CPEC Phase 2, both nations plan to emphasize agriculture, Main Line-I of Pakistan Railways, business-to-business deals, and realignment of the Karakoram Highway.

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During a meeting with representatives of Chinese companies, PM Sharif expressed Pakistan's interest in leveraging Chinese expertise to advance its IT sector and enhance exports. He underscored China's crucial role in Pakistan's development and assured top-notch security for Chinese workers and citizens.

The Pakistani government has taken comprehensive measures to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel working on various CPEC projects. PM Sharif also highlighted Pakistan's agricultural potential and invited Chinese investment in sectors like electric and hybrid automobiles.

In a separate development, Minister for Planning, Development Ahsan Iqbal and China's Vice Chairman of the National Development Reform Commission Li Chunlin co-chaired a meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC). They discussed the vision of upgrading the second phase of CPEC and finalizing implementation plans for new corridors proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Iqbal emphasized the importance of replicating Chinese success in developing Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Pakistan. He noted progress in developing priority SEZs but stressed the need for further collaboration to ensure the success of CPEC Phase 2.

The CPEC, launched a decade ago, has witnessed the completion of numerous energy and infrastructure projects. However, significant work remains to be done to realize its full potential in driving economic growth and connectivity between China and Pakistan.

May 25, 2024 4:55 p.m. 482

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