BEIJING: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday that extensive efforts were being made for the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
“The CPEC is a core component of your visionary initiative of the One-Belt-One-Road project. We sincerely appreciate your commitment and leadership for the realisation of CPEC projects,” he said during a meeting with President Xi on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
The May 14-15 forum is being attended by 29 heads of state and government, besides delegates from around 130 countries.
Islamabad, Beijing sign deals worth nearly $500 million
Pakistan and China signed six accords of cooperation in diverse fields.
Mr Sharif and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang witnessed the signing ceremony at the Peoples Great Hall of China.
The memorandums of understanding reached countries pertain to: framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative and agreements on economic and technical cooperation (1.5 billion RMB for Gwadar Airport, etc and 1.1bn RMB for East Bay Expressway).
The worth of the accords is about $500 million. The MoUs add to $57bn already pledged for the CPEC.
According to the Prime Minister Sharif’s office, following deals are among the accords signed on Saturday:
• Two cooperation agreements worth $333m for an airport in Gwadar, site of a deepwater port that is to provide an outlet to the Arabian Sea from the far western Chinese province of Xinjiang.
• Establishment of the Havelian dry port in Pakistan.
• Agreement on economic and technical cooperation ($160m) for the East Bay Expressway linking Gwadar to Pakistan’s highway network.
During the meeting with President Xi, the prime minister was accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM Pervaiz Khattak and Balochistan CM Sanaulllah Zehri, besides Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman and Adviser to the PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.
President Xi was accompanied by a nine-member delegation.
Mr Sharif, who earlier met the Chinese premier, called for accelerating the implementation of projects in Gwadar and establishment of special economic and industrial zones.
“The presence of all four provincial chief ministers symbolises the broad-based support in Pakistan for cooperation with China and the CPEC,” he said.
Welcoming PM Sharif, President Xi expressed satisfaction over the pace of growing bilateral ties and resolved to cement the relations by enhancing cooperation in multiple spheres.
Meanwhile, addressing a Bhasha project conference organised by China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), Prime Minister Sharif said that NEA had been an effec-tive partner in Pakistan’s fight to cope with the energy crisis.
The premier said that development of the North Indus Cascade is a major focus of his government, and the construction of Bhasha dam is the single most important initiative in this regard.”
Heads and representatives of power companies of China gave presentations on their study of the dam project and called for a deeper study on the project owing to its crucial nature for Pakistan.
Later, the prime minister witnessed the signing of an MoU on the roadmap for power projects by Water and Power Secretary Yousuf Naseem Khokhar and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong.
Besides, Prime Minister Sharif and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on the sidelines of the OBOR Forum and discussed issues of bilateral interests and matters of regional and international importance.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2017