China's Xinjiang seals Pakistan ties with $2bn in deals

Published April 8, 2016
Xinjiang's Communist Party chief Zhang Chunxian in a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at PM House. — APP
Xinjiang's Communist Party chief Zhang Chunxian in a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at PM House. — APP

BEIJING: Companies from China's violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang signed deals worth about $2 billion with Pakistan this week during a visit to Pakistan by Xinjiang's top official, who sought to cement ties with an important security partner.

Pakistan last year agreed energy and infrastructure projects worth $46 billion with China to set up the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

In return, China will get a free trade zone in Pakistan's Gwadar port and access to the Arabian Sea. New Pakistani roads will open up routes for Chinese goods into Europe and the Middle East from landlocked Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan.

During a four-day visit to Pakistan, Xinjiang's Communist Party chief Zhang Chunxian met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, visited Islamabad, Karachi and Gwadar, the official Xinjiang Daily said on Friday.

Highway network planned for CPEC. — Courtesy: Planning Commission
Highway network planned for CPEC. — Courtesy: Planning Commission

“China and Pakistan have a deep friendship, are good neighbours, friends, brothers and partners,” the newspaper cited Zhang as saying.

“On this trip, I have deeply felt this friendship and the atmosphere surrounding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.”

The $2 billion in agreements covered infrastructure, solar power and logistics, among other projects, signed by companies from Xinjiang with their Pakistan counterparts, the newspaper said, without giving details.

China and Pakistan call each other “all-weather friends” and their ties have been underpinned by long-standing wariness of their common neighbour, India.

But China has also long urged Pakistan to weed out what it says are militants from Xinjiang, who may be holed up in the tribal areas on the Pakistan-Afghan border, a region home to a mix of militant groups.

Read: Pakistan says 'almost all' Uighur militants eliminated

While meeting Sharif, the two countries agreed to continue working together to fight terrorism, strengthen border controls, maintain regional peace and stability and ensure the economic corridor projects are protected, the newspaper said.

Zhang also met Pakistan's military on the trip, it added, without elaborating.

Hundreds of people have been killed in unrest in Xinjiang in the last few years.

Exiles and rights groups say Chinese controls on the religion and culture of the Muslim Uighur people who call Xinjiang home is largely behind the violence, rather than any well-organised militant groups.

China denies any rights abuses in Xinjiang and says its people are free to practice Islam.

Examine: Burqa banned in China's Xinjiang

During his trip, Zhang visited a mosque in Islamabad, where he “got a deep understanding of Pakistan's religious affairs management”, the Xinjiang Daily added.

Opinion

Is it child abuse?
24 Sep 2021

Is it child abuse?

The SNC’s language mix doesn’t address our children’s emotional needs.
The gathering storm
Updated 24 Sep 2021

The gathering storm

The growing US-China rivalry has transformed the geopolitical scene, in particular the Asian strategic landscape.
New realities and challenges
Updated 23 Sep 2021

New realities and challenges

Will the Afghan Taliban entrust to the UN the responsibility of receiving and disbursing all aid?

Editorial

24 Sep 2021

Costs of growth

IS Pakistan’s growth party over? Not yet. But both the State Bank and government are now cutting down on the items...
Smear campaign
Updated 24 Sep 2021

Smear campaign

It is commendable that the government has taken the matter as seriously as it has, and delved deep into cyber investigations.
24 Sep 2021

Rising dengue cases

THE dengue monster is once again rearing its head in different cities of Punjab. More than 820 cases have surfaced ...
Dialogue, at last
Updated 23 Sep 2021

Dialogue, at last

The govt has attempted to make the ECP controversial at a time when its input is critical for the poll reforms
AUKUS controversy
Updated 23 Sep 2021

AUKUS controversy

Instead of flexing its military muscle, the Western bloc needs to engage China at the negotiating table.
Provocative act
Updated 23 Sep 2021

Provocative act

Afghan Taliban flags have been found hoisted at Jamia Hafsa seminary three times since Aug 21.