China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are exploring opportunities for cooperation under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Chinese ambassador to Islamabad Yao Jing said on Sunday.
In an interview with Arab News, the ambassador stressed that UAE was also a partner under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and has a lot of trade and economic links with Pakistan.
The BRI is a Beijing-led program to boost economic and trade ties in dozens of countries in Asia, Europe and beyond, mostly through investments in energy and infrastructure.
"Between China and UAE, maybe we have some opportunities to cooperate for Pakistan's development," Ambassador Yao said, adding that since the ninth meeting of a Pakistan China Joint Cooperation Committee held this month, both countries had stepped up efforts to promote "third party investment" in the bilateral project.
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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Syed Shibli Faraz welcomed investment from UAE and other Arab countries in Pakistan.
“The government was discussing opportunities for Arab countries to join CPEC,” said Faraz. They had shown "willingness," he added.
Mushahid Hussain Syed, Senator and Chairman of China-Pakistan Institute, said the participation of friendly countries like UAE would be a "great plus" for CPEC.
In an earlier interview, UAE deputy head of mission in Islamabad, Abdul Aziz Al Neyadi, said that UAE and China had common interests and were "ready to jointly work in a third country, as the government of UAE and China enjoy strong relations with Pakistan."
UAE Ambassador to Pakistan, Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi, also said, "Pakistan and UAE need to work together to further upgrade their ties aiming at developing a strategic partnership."
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In Pakistan, Beijing has pledged over $60 billion for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor of power stations, major highways, new and upgraded railways and higher capacity ports, aimed to help turn Pakistan into a major overland route linking western China to the world.
The first phase of the corridor focused on the development of infrastructure and electricity projects and the second phase will be oriented towards industrialisation and socio-economic development in nine special economic zones across the country.
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