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

Published: April 8, 2016
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

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 a so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, in a boost to Pakistan’s crumbling infrastructure and energy sector.

‘CPEC a game changer only if Pakistan tackles security issues’

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 Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, visited Islamabad, Karachi and Gwadar, the official Xinjiang Daily said on Friday.

Chinese delegation inaugurates Gwadar Port Free Zone

“China and Pakistan have a deep friendship, are good neighbors, 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 neighbor, India, and a desire to hedge against US influence in the region.

Pakistan Army to establish HQ in Diamer district to ensure CPEC security

But China has also long urged Pakistan to weed out what it says are militants from Xinjiang, who are holed up in lawless ethnic Pashtun lands on the Pakistan-Afghan border, home to a mix of groups, including the Taliban and al Qaeda.

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-organized militant groups.

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

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

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Reader Comments (18)

  • SuperNeo
    Apr 8, 2016 - 9:57AM

    Pakistan should learn from China which is very aggressively eliminating islam from Xinjiang’s province to progress.Recommend

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    Apr 8, 2016 - 10:02AM

    I do hope they give employment opportunities to local Pakistanis and not import cheap labor from China.Recommend

  • Apr 8, 2016 - 10:02AM

    It’s a good omen for both countries. $2 billion investment from Xinjiang province alone will improve conditions for Ughirs. Once their trade and investment opportunities are opened militancy in Xinjiang will be gone soon. Similarly, Pakistan needs to tackle its security situation by eliminating logistical support to terrorist producing factories established in the Punjab and other provinces. Pakistan’s survival is solely dependent on removing extremism from its root. Any cosmetic changes will not help Pakistan’s survival.Recommend

  • Raisani
    Apr 8, 2016 - 10:47AM

    Pakistan and China are two countries but One nation.
    Long live Pak China friendship. Recommend

  • Hameed
    Apr 8, 2016 - 11:43AM

    That’s how British took over India. One peace at a time.Recommend

  • Apr 8, 2016 - 2:44PM

    Panama, Panama, Panamaaah! Will it allow many participants to profit or only a few? CPEC is very good minus so much propaganda for popularity. Anyway, Panama has got the gavel. Salams Recommend

  • goldconsumer
    Apr 8, 2016 - 3:14PM

    I had a chance to spend 3 months on a training in Jinan, Shandong and I was just amazed at the religious freedom there. Use of loud speakers in mosques, and zabeha (Islamic way of animal slaughter) were all allowed to name a fewRecommend

  • RAW guys
    Apr 8, 2016 - 3:52PM

    WHY? WHY? WHY?
    China, we hate you! :(Recommend

  • shah
    Apr 8, 2016 - 4:01PM

    @SuperNeo:
    You Indians Are Ridiculous.How On Earth Is Islam Being Eliminated??I Have Been To Xinjiang And The Mosques Are Open And People Pray and Conduct All Their Religious ObligationsRecommend

  • Fahim
    Apr 8, 2016 - 4:05PM

    Thanks to ChinaRecommend

  • PashtunZalmai
    Apr 8, 2016 - 4:59PM

    Xinjiang’s Communist Party chief Zhang Chunxian met his brother Lahori Ashrafia Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to decide the lease & free Trading zones of Baluch Port & land for $2 billion investment opportunity. An Alternative view. if you can only listen to. This is how Baluch is sayingRecommend

  • Ahmed
    Apr 8, 2016 - 5:22PM

    I think the USA should limit China’s regional influence by investing $50 billion in Pakistan.

    Let both countries fight it out.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Apr 8, 2016 - 5:38PM

    @NKAli:
    Panama, Panama, Panamaaah! Will it allow many participants to profit or only a few?

    Both the Sharifs and the Xinjiang are the beneficiaries of the commission earnings and they will be deposited in offshore accounts.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • ShamelessPakistanis
    Apr 8, 2016 - 8:07PM

    Just 2Billion? Seriously! 1.98 billion will do to politicians!Recommend

  • Zahid
    Apr 9, 2016 - 3:05AM

    Thank you China long live Pakistan China friendship Pakistan Army roll is more important than civilians governmentRecommend

  • observer
    Apr 9, 2016 - 8:03AM

    So.

    Now Pakistan is officially at par with a province of China.

    How long before it becomes the equal of a Municipality?

    I guess soon, pretty soon.Recommend

  • Shah
    Apr 9, 2016 - 12:55PM

    @Rex Minor:
    You Indians Have The Largest Amount of Cash Stashed In Swiss Bank Accounts Instead of Worrying About Pakistan and Xinjiang Worry About Your Own CorruptionRecommend

  • syed & syed
    Apr 10, 2016 - 3:33AM

    The entire project will work if Baluchis are given jobs and treated as partners. This will create a better atmosphere and will be good for Pakistan as well as BaluchistanRecommend

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