ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China have agreed to remain engaged for the inclusion of third parties to the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to enhance regional connectivity, the Pakistani foreign office said on Sunday, following talks between the two sides in Beijing.
The two sides agreed on this at the third round of Pakistan-China Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) on Saturday, where Foreign Secretary Dr. Asad Majeed Khan led the Pakistan delegation and the Chinese side was led by Chinese vice-minister for foreign affairs Sun Weidong. The BPC is a regular institutional mechanism between Pakistan and China.
CPEC is a $65 billion project, part of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, aimed at establishing a network of roads, railways, pipelines, and ports in Pakistan. It aims to connect China to Pakistan’s ports and help Islamabad expand and modernize its economy and meet major energy needs as well as provide the shortest route for Chinese cargo headed for the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.
“Noting the completion of a decade of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to CPEC that remains a major pillar of bilateral cooperation and a symbol of ever deepening friendship between Pakistan and China,” the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement on Sunday.
“They also agreed to remain engaged in expansion of CPEC including on participation of third parties to enhance regional connectivity and cooperation.”
Both sides reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and agreed to expand and reinforce political and security cooperation, bilateral trade, economic and financial cooperation, cultural exchanges, tourism, and people-to-people ties.
Foreign Secretary Khan thanked the Chinese side for its consistent and generous support for economic stability in Pakistan and the humanitarian assistance during last year’s devastating floods. On the occasion, Vice-Minister Sun reaffirmed China’s support for sovereignty, territorial integrity and economic security of Pakistan, according to the statement.
The two sides also exchanged views on a range of regional and global issues of mutual interest and expressed satisfaction over their close cooperation and engagement on important regional developments, including in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan and China will further strengthen dialogue and cooperation in multilateral platforms,” the statement added.