ISLAMABAD: The autonomous region of Xingjiang in China, which borders Pakistan, was keen on developing economic ties with neighbouring countries.
This was stated by a six-member delegation from the Publicity Department of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Committee during a roundtable in Islamabad on Thursday.
Professor Xing Guangcheng, the director general of the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that said Xinjiang was a multi-ethnic region and possessed immense natural resources. Hence, the region was looking forward to developing its ties with neighbouring countries.
He emphasised that the region had a vital role to play in pushing forward China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.
Briefing the media about the rapid development of the region after the launch of OBOR initiative, Prof Guangcheng said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had opened numerous avenues of bilateral cooperation.
In this regard, Kashgar in the Xinjiang – which borders Pakistan – had become central to linking the region with the port in Gwadar.
Further under OBOR, he said that a gas-petrol pipeline between Kashgar and Gwadar was being built to carry a million barrels of oil per day (1MMBD). Moreover, work on coal and solar-energy-related projects were also underway. They were also actively engaged in setting up an economic and trade logistic centre apart from an economic development zone in Kashgar.
About the fast-growing economy of the Xinjiang, Xing said it has achieved annual growth of 7.6 per cent.
Prof Guangcheng said that their visit was aimed at promoting public awareness about the significance of this initiative to boost their bilateral ties. He added that Beijing and the autonomous region’s governments attached immense importance to their relations with Pakistan, considered to be their iron brother China.
The delegation also spoke about the religious freedom in Xinjiang and said that all ethnic groups were allowed to perform their religious rites as per their beliefs.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2017.