Two universities in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will add Urdu and Farsi (Persian) to their undergraduate curriculum.
Shihezi University and Xinjiang Normal University based in Urumqi are setting up Urdu and Farsi departments, respectively, and start enrolling students nationwide this summer, according to a Shihezi University press release on Monday.
Urdu is the official language of Pakistan. In 2013, China and Pakistan started to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a 3,000 kilometres long network of roads, railways and pipelines linking Xinjiang's Kashgar and Pakistan's Gwadar Port.
Farsi is the official language in Iran and Tajikistan, and a major language in Afghanistan.
Currently only six universities in China offer Farsi as a major, producing less than 500 people proficient in the language, Xinjiang's increasing cooperation in trade and counter-terrorism with Farsi-speaking countries requires more advanced Farsi language learners, it said.