Skip to main content

China, Pakistan Seeking CPEC Extension to Afghanistan

November 01, 2018 11:36 AM

Ayaz Gul

FILE - Ahsan Iqbal, then Pakistan's minister for planning and development, speaks during the launch ceremony of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) long-term cooperation plan, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Dec. 18, 2017. There is now talk of expanding the project into Afghanistan.

Share

ISLAMABAD — 

China and Pakistan say they are exploring the extension of their bilateral infrastructure development project to Afghanistan.

During the past four years of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Beijing has provided Islamabad $19 billion in soft loans and direct foreign investments, upgrading or constructing Pakistani transportation networks, power plants and the strategic Arabian Sea port of Gwadar.

The stage is now set for “expansion and geographical extension” of CPEC to western Pakistan and to landlocked Afghanistan, say Pakistani and Chinese officials. They say later this year Kabul is to host the next round of a trilateral peace and security cooperation dialogue with Beijing and Islamabad and discussions will also include a proposed framework for engaging Afghanistan in CPEC.

“We should make this bilateral cooperation of CPEC project another platform for a better regional cooperation or connectivity. This economic development of Pakistan in fact is an opportunity for the whole up-gradation of the regional economic development,” says Chinese Ambassador to Islamabad, Yao Jing.

During the past four years CPEC, the flagship and fastest growing project of President Xi Jinping’s global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has created more than 75,000 local jobs and has helped Pakistan increase its economic growth rate from more than three percent to 5.8 percent in 2017. The construction of power plants has almost ended the crippling electricity crisis in the country.

‘Time has come’

Officials say the second phase of CPEC will be launched in coming weeks to construct special economic zones to help Pakistan advance and revive industrial development.

Officials tell VOA, China could initially propose capacity building training programs for Afghans and funding for linking a Pakistani motorway to Afghanistan’s border cities of Jalalabad and Kandahar.

The Chinese are helping Pakistan build the motorway linking the northwestern border city of Peshawar to the southern port of Karachi, which Kabul uses for its international trade. The proposed motorway would provide a much shorter route for Afghanistan to the Chinese-operated port of Gwadar, known as the gateway to CPEC.

Mushahid Hussain, head of the Pakistani Senate’s foreign affairs committee, says despite U.S.-led foreign skepticism and suspicions about CPEC, all 22 “early harvest” projects under the initiative have been successfully completed or are on route to completion.

FILE - A Pakistani soldier stands guard near a container ship at Gwadar Port, Pakistan, Oct. 4, 2017. Development of the deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea was one of the first high-profile projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan.

“Now the time has come for CPEC to move beyond Pakistan and China, and the natural extension or expansion of CPEC should be towards Afghanistan because Afghanistan has a border with Pakistan and China and these three countries have a natural correlation in terms of economy, culture and geography,” Hussain told VOA.

He said later this month in Islamabad an unofficial trilateral think tanks conference of China, Afghanistan and Pakistan will also discuss how to include Kabul into CPEC.

Beijing initiated official trilateral dialogue with Afghanistan and Pakistan last year in an effort to ease regional tensions and promote a peaceful settlement to the Afghan war.

"China’s role is extremely important ... in bringing Pakistan and Afghanistan together because China has very strong relations with Pakistan. China is one country which has no extra baggage in Afghanistan because it has no history of involvement or no negativism about its role in Afghanistan,” Hussain noted.

BRI, CPEC skepticism

Both Chinese and Pakistani officials dismiss as “misplaced and irrelevant” criticism that CPEC and the BRI initiative is a debt trap for developing nations and an effort to increase Beijing’s political influence in the region.

Speaking at the Chinese embassy with CPEC project directors, Ambassador Jing said, “There is a kind of force in the world who do not want to see a rising a China, who don’t want to see a prospering China. Naturally, there are some forces who don't want to see this kind of a partnership between China and Pakistan. We should be alert against these kind of negative forces or elements.”

Islamabad and Beijing have also rejected reported concerns that Pakistan’s economic woes are forcing Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government to slow down or revisit CPEC projects.

Jing said the investments under the multi-billion dollar CPEC is a “new demonstration of China’s confidence and trust” in Pakistan.

Responding to CPEC critics, senior Pakistani Cabinet minister Shireen Mazari has stated the government is committed to the project and pushing for involving neighboring countries to make Pakistan a hub for regional development

CPEC is estimated to bring more than $62 billion in Chinese investment to Pakistan during the next decade.

Jing says Khan's first official visit to China this week will take the friendship between the two countries to "new heights." He added that agreements expected to be singed during the visit would help ease the bilateral trade-deficit. Beijing also plans to announce an unspecified financial "grant" for Pakistan to help it deal with a looming balance of payments crisis.

“We want to invest more in Pakistan and buy more from Pakistan. China’s capital, China’s technology and also China’s huge market could offer a bigger contribution towards Pakistan’s future development," said the Chinese ambassador.


https://www.voanews.com/a/china-pakistan-seeking-cpec-extension-to-afghanistan/4638366.html

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

https://www.csis.org/analysis/rise-china-europe-railways

The Rise of China-Europe RailwaysMarch 6, 2018The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1Against this historical backdrop, new railway services between China and Europe have emerged rapidly. Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist.2 Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese…

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میںPlease help the deserving persons...Salary:Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows;Welder: Rs. 1,700 dailyHeavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyMason: Rs. 1,500 dailyHelper: Rs. 850 dailyElectrician: Rs. 1,700 dailySurveyor: Rs. 2,500 dailySecurity Guard: Rs. 1,600 dailyBulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyConcrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 dailyRoller operator: Rs. 2,000 dailySteel fixer: Rs. 2,200 dailyIron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 dailyAccount clerk: Rs. 2,200 dailyCarpenter: Rs. 1,700 dailyLight duty driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyLabour: Rs. 900 dailyPara Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 dailyPipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 dailyStorekeeper: Rs. 1,700 dailyOffice boy: Rs. 1,200 dailyExcavator operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyShovel operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyComputer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailySecurity Supervisor: Rs. 2,200 dailyCook for Chinese food: Rs. 2,000 dailyCook…

Balochistan to establish first medical university

https://www.dawn.com/news/1366135

The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentOctober 25, 2017QUETTA: The provincial cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft for establishing a medical university in Balochistan.Health minister Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch made the announcement while speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.“The cabinet has approved the draft of the medical university which would be presented in the current session of the Balochistan Assembly,” he said, adding with the assembly’s approval the Bolan Medical College would be converted into a medical university.Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017