ISLAMABAD: Following the completion of the first phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan and China's Joint Working Group (JWP) on Infrastructure Development have decided to expedite the work on the western route.
A high-level delegation of China, led by the transport minister, called on Minister for Communications Murad Saeed and discussed the infrastructure development projects in detail, according to a statement on Saturday.
The JWG has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for transport infrastructure development.
Under the second phase of the CPEC, around 1,270-kilometre highway would be constructed, it said, adding that the roads from Gilgit to Chitral, Dera Ismail Khan to Zhob, Peshawar to Dera Ismail Khan and Swat Expressway Phase-II would also be developed.
China to help prop up Pakistan economy
The Chinese delegation appreciated the performance of the Ministry of Communications in the timely completion of the first phase projects and thanked Pakistan for extending great hospitality to them.
The Chinese minister was of the view that the CPEC would benefit the next generations of the two countries, adding that the leadership of China and Pakistan was determined to ensure timely completion of the project.
Minister for Communications Murad Saeed appreciated hard work, determination and professional expertise of the Chinese engineers working on different projects of the CPEC.
He expressed his commitment and resolve for removing the impediments in the timely completion of the CPEC infrastructure projects, which would help create more job opportunities and give a boost to local business.
Saeed also apprised the visiting delegation of the establishment of the CPEC Authority and thanked the Peoples Republic of China for their strong support on the Kashmir issue.
He said China was a role model for achieving economic progress and alleviating poverty.
Second phase of CPEC
The second phase of construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will focus on industrial cooperation, agricultural cooperation, and construction of Gwadar port and socio-economic development, of which 27 new projects would be launched during the year.
Chinese team due in Pakistan to finalise CPEC projects
"During Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to China, the relevant departments of the two countries signed a series of cooperation documents, paving the way for the second phase of the construction of the CPEC," Cheng Xizhong, Professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law and Senior Research Fellow of the Chahar Institute, Special Commentator told "The Overseas Network" on Saturday.
During the meeting, the leaders of the two countries pointed out the direction for the next phase of promoting the construction of the CPEC, stressing that the corridor should be turned into a high-quality demonstration project to build the Belt and Road Initiative.
The CPEC, jointly established by the two countries, is the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative. After more than four years of joint efforts, the first phase of the investment of $19 billion in 22 projects has been completed and put into operation, and some are nearing completion.
These major projects, mainly related to energy and transport infrastructure, were completely alleviated by Pakistan's long-standing power supply shortage and partially created a smooth highway network, thus setting the stage for a rapid track for Pakistan's future socio-economic development.
Cheng said, “It is foreseeable that the scope of corridor construction will continue to expand and the pace will continue to accelerate, especially as China will actively help Pakistan to carry out projects in the field of people's livelihood.
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