China willing to implement ‘$3.5b Karachi project’

Beijing says both sides agreed to include KCCDZ in CPEC framework during 10th JCC


APP September 29, 2021

BEIJING:

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying on Tuesday said China was willing to work with Pakistan to implement the outcomes of the recently-held 10th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), including the Karachi project.

“In the recently-held 10th JCC meeting, China and Pakistan agreed to include the Karachi project in the CPEC framework and listed it as an outcome of the meeting,” she said during her regular briefing while commenting on the inclusion of $3.5 billion Karachi Comprehensive Coastal Development Zone (KCCDZ) in the CPEC framework.

The federal government had unveiled an ambitious plan to rebuild Karachi’s coastline under CPEC with $3.5 billion “direct Chinese investment” that aims to overhaul the city’s seaboard with new berths for the port, a new fishery port and a ‘majestic harbour bridge’ connecting it with Manora islands and Sandspit beach.

The KCCDZ — spread over 640 hectares or 1,581 acres on the western backwaters marshland of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) leading to revamp one of the oldest city slums Machhar Colony relocating its more than half a million population — is an initiative of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs.

The KCCDZ is the latest addition to CPEC projects aimed at providing Karachi with an ultra-modern urban infrastructure zone, placing it among the top port cities of the world.

Read More: ‘Huge job opportunities’ are coming under CPEC phase 2

In a tweet, Prime Minister Imran Khan has termed the inclusion of the Karachi coastal zone in CPEC a game-changer and expressed the hope that it would help in cleaning up marine habitat for fishermen, develop low income housing units and creating investment opportunities. It would put Karachi on a par with the developed port cities.

Chunying said China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperation partners and CPEC was a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“China is willing to work with Pakistan to implement the common understanding of the two leaders and also outcome of the JCC meeting,” she added.

She said the Chinese side would ensure smooth operation and construction of existing projects and highlight the cooperation in health, green economy and digital areas.

“We will work on other fronts in our cooperation, improve the quality of the joint building of CPEC and provide new impetus to the development and the people’s livelihood,” she added.

According to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on CPEC Affairs Dr Khalid Mansoor, the inclusion of KCCDZ in CPEC in the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee for CPEC would expand the horizon of development for the country.

Mansoor pointed out that it was an opportunity for international investors to invest in Pakistan. “The multi-billion-dollar CPEC project has entered into its second phase.”

The establishment of Special Economic Zones and the involvement of private sectors would make Pakistan a manufacturing hub,” he added.

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