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Pakistan PM Sharif To Visit China Next Month For Formal Launch Of Second Phase Of CPEC

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ISLAMABAD, May 25: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will visit China in the first week of next month to join the formal launching of the second phase of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, according to a media report on Saturday.
A source in the Prime Minister's Office told the Dawn newspaper that Prime Minister Sharif was scheduled to leave for China on June 4, but the date of the visit could slightly be changed.
The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Pakistan's Balochistan with China's Xinjiang province, is opposed by as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied  and (PoJK).
Infrastructure and energy projects were part of the CPEC's first phase. In CPEC-II, both countries will focus on agriculture, Main Line-I of Pakistan Railways, businessmen-to-businessmen deals and realignment of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) etc.
While presiding over a meeting of representatives of Chinese companies on Friday, the prime minister said that Pakistan wanted to benefit from Chinese experiences to promote its IT sector and boost exports.
“China has an important role in Pakistan's development. It has always helped Pakistan in difficult times for which the entire nation, including me, is grateful to the Chinese leadership and the people,” he said.
He assured the Chinese firms that the security and protection of Chinese workers and citizens was the top priority of the government. Thousands of Chinese personnel are working in Pakistan on several projects being carried out under the aegis of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Some have been attacked in recent years by militants who accuse them of exploiting mineral resources. “The government has taken all possible measures to ensure foolproof security of the Chinese citizens in Pakistan,” he told the meeting, adding that a comprehensive plan had been prepared on this.
Sharif said that Pakistan was an agricultural country and wanted to utilise China's modern technology in this sector. He invited Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan's electric, hybrid auto sector and other sectors.
Meanwhile, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported that Minister for Planning, Development Ahsan Iqbal and China's Vice Chairman of the Development Reform Commission Li Chunlin co-chaired a meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC), where the Pakistan side appreciated the vision of Chinese leadership to upgrade the second phase of CPEC with the inclusion of new corridors.
Speaking at the JCC meeting, Iqbal said: “We are ready to work with NDRC to finalise the scope and implementation plan on these corridors.” The minister said that last year China's Vice Premier He Lifeng unveiled five new corridors proposed by President Xi Jinping, including the Growth Corridor, Livelihood Enhancing Corridor, Innovation Corridor, Green Corridor, and Opening Up/Regional Connectivity Corridor.
He said the second phase of CPEC had already begun, but much work remained to ensure its success. “We are progressing on developing four priority SEZs, including Rashakai SEZ, Allama Iqbal Industrial City, Dhabeji SEZ, and Bostan SEZ. But we need to replicate the Chinese experience in this area,” he said. The CPEC was launched a decade ago and several projects related to energy and infrastructure had been already completed.

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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