BEIJING: Companies from China’s far western region of Xinjiang signed deals worth about $2 billion with Pakistan this week during a visit to Islamabad by Xinjiang’s top official, who sought to cement ties with an important security partner.
Pakistan last year agreed to energy and infrastructure projects worth $46 billion with China to set up an economic corridor, in a boost to its infrastructure and energy sectors. In return, China will get a free trade zone at Gwadar port and access to the Arabian Sea.
New roads under the project will open up routes for Chinese goods into Europe and the Middle East from the landlocked Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan.
During a four-day visit, Xinjiang Communist Party chief Zhang Chunxian met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and visited Islamabad, Karachi and Gwadar, the official Xinjiang Daily said on Friday.
“China and Pakistan have a deep friendship, are good neighbours, 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.
In the meeting with 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.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2016.
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