Nawaz’s Beijing visit: Trade corridor tops MoU bonanza

Published: July 6, 2013
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Premiers Nawaz Sharif and Li Keqiang, and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif share a light moment. PHOTO: AFP

Premiers Nawaz Sharif and Li Keqiang, and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif share a light moment. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING: Pakistan and China on Friday signed a bonanza of agreements, including one on a long-term economic corridor, capping a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang in the Chinese capital.

The 2,000-kilometre road and rail link connecting the northwestern city of Kashgar to Gwadar port was among eight pacts inked by the two countries. The corridor is expected to cost around $18 billion. Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal inked the pact from the Pakistani side while the chairman of the National Development and Reforms Commission signed it from the Chinese side, as Premier Li reiterated his country’s strategic interest in the project.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) pertaining to the Lahore-Karachi Motorway was signed on Friday as well, following which Prime Minister Nawaz ordered concerned departments to complete the project within two-and-a-half years.

Talking to PTV after the signing ceremony, the premier said the authorities will have to finalise the project’s feasibility study within three months. He made it clear, however, that the government would not allow any compromise on quality.

“Once this project is completed, travel time [between Lahore and Karachi] will be drastically reduced … this will ultimately promote business activity in the region,” Nawaz maintained, adding that all four provinces would benefit from it. He added that the Lahore-Karachi Motorway would be connected to the Kashgar-Gwadar highway as well. Other agreements signed on Friday included a pact on economic and technical cooperation between the two countries – signed by the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi – and two letters of exchange regarding training courses for textiles, flood relief and disaster management, and the provision of equipment for eradicating polio from Pakistan.

An MoU was also signed for cooperation and exchanges between PML-N and the Communist Party of China. Fatemi, meanwhile, inked another MoU for cooperation between Pakistan’s Institute of Strategic Studies and the China Institute of Contemporary Study. The two countries also reached a $44 million agreement on setting a fibre-optic cable from the China-Pakistan border to Rawalpindi. The document was signed by Strategic Communication Organisation of Pakistan and Huawei Technologies Company.

Punjab Energy Minister Sher Ali Khan and the chief of ZTE Corporation signed an MoU on a solar energy project as well.

Meanwhile, the Chinese company tasked with the construction of the stalled Nandipur power plant has agreed to resume work on the project. According to a news channel, the Chinese company has decided to send its engineers to Pakistan in this regard, following a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. Shahbaz, who is part of Prime Minister Nawaz’s delegation, assured the company’s officials of his government’s full support.

Separately, in a meeting with the president of China Overseas Port Holding Company, Nawaz expressed his desire to develop Gwadar port on the Hong Kong model.

Nawaz’s meeting with Li

Nawaz and Li on Friday resolved to promote polices to advance the cause of peace, cooperation and harmony in the region.

In a joint statement issued after their one-on-one meeting, the two leaders reiterated their commitment to ‘people-centric’ policies aimed at mitigating poverty, promoting social and economic development, and diminishing the roots of conflict.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz once again reaffirmed his government’s commitment to deepening the bilateral relations between Pakistan and China. The Chinese leader appreciated his decision to choose China as his first foreign destination after being elected premier.

The two sides reviewed the development of Pakistan-China relations and observed they had acquired growing strategic significance. Premier Nawaz and Premier Li noted that Asia was the engine of global economic growth and major urbanisation and technological advancement was underway in the region.

Earlier, upon his arrival at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Prime Minister Nawaz received a rousing red carpet welcome from Premier Li. He said his welcome reminded him of ‘the saying, our friendship is higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the deepest sea in the world, and sweeter than honey’.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • Ammar
    Jul 6, 2013 - 3:36AM

    Excellent!!

    Haters will always hate…

    Now please divert all of your energies to put the country back on track…

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  • riz
    Jul 6, 2013 - 5:45AM

    Wave of prosperity is expected in our region, I believe bad economic conditions are the root cause of most of our problems and nawaz govt is heading in right direction

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  • Optimist
    Jul 6, 2013 - 6:14AM

    Ambitious and impressive.
    .
    I hope we won’t have jealousy in some comments :)

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  • Syed A. Mateen
    Jul 6, 2013 - 6:22AM

    A very good start taken by Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif to pull out the country from economic turmoil.

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  • Aysha M
    Jul 6, 2013 - 6:33AM

    Why didnt the CMs of other provinces accompany the Prime Minister, is everything just about Punjab

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  • Polpot
    Jul 6, 2013 - 6:58AM

    Pacts, deals, agreements….
    +++++++++++++++++++++++
    Actually Memorandum of Understandng MOUs barely worth the paper printed on.

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  • Supersequel
    Jul 6, 2013 - 7:02AM

    Will the Pakistani tiger once again roar since the passing of the 70s? God willingly! Pakistanis, claim your prosperous destiny.

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  • Intelligent
    Jul 6, 2013 - 7:25AM

    Good step..looking forward in the growth of Pakistan

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  • K B Kale
    Jul 6, 2013 - 7:32AM

    All this looks as good as it looked to Indian leadership & its people like me when went went ‘ga-ga’ shouting “Hindi-Cheeni-bhai-bhai” back in late 50’s. but China stabbed India in the back and gobbled a lot of our Territory. I think Pakistan, which has already ‘gifted’ large territory of erstwhile Princely State of Kashmir that India claims as theirs, Pakistan should be careful about this “forever” friendship as the Chinese tend to occupy such territories ‘forever’!

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  • Polpot
    Jul 6, 2013 - 7:54AM

    Before the Visit the atrget for Bilateral Trade was USD 15 Bn in next 2-3 Years
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Now we must redefine it to 23-28-35 Bn USD resp. for the next 3 years.

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  • Jul 6, 2013 - 8:45AM

    I don’t know what there for Pakistan in 18 bn corridor. China want to construct it for its use. Of course Pk can use it also.

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  • GhostRider
    Jul 6, 2013 - 9:32AM

    CTBT standing together :p

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  • imran
    Jul 6, 2013 - 9:45AM

    Less than 10% MoUs materialize.

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  • SKChadha
    Jul 6, 2013 - 9:58AM

    Trade Corridor is alright ….. what are the charges for providing easement rights?

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  • Cobra Commander
    Jul 6, 2013 - 10:09AM

    @Aysha M: The CM of Baluchistan is accompanying the PM on this trip.

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  • Maria
    Jul 6, 2013 - 10:22AM

    @Aysha M: Great news that the nation is moving forward after so long. The haters will always find a reason to complain- I see you want to play the game of discord among Pakistan’s provinces but it won;t work since we know what is good for any province is good for the whole country. There will be others supporting India by saying MOUs don’t amount to much. Let’s all just wait and see but if Pakistan can develop economically, a lot of people will get jobs and the country can move forward!

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  • Bilal
    Jul 6, 2013 - 10:47AM

    CM Balochistan Dr Malik Baloch is quite visible in this pic. Why is this hue and cry about SS?

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  • Cobra Commander
    Jul 6, 2013 - 10:48AM

    @Aysha M:
    The CM of Baluchistan can be seen on the extreme left of the photo. The photographer didnt take a good shot hence only half of him is being seen in it. I second Maria on her views.

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  • KAY
    Jul 6, 2013 - 11:47AM

    First honeymoon trip of new government, while the citizens keep crying in scorching heat and humidity without electricity and water.

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  • PTI supporter
    Jul 6, 2013 - 11:58AM

    Good going Nawaz. Keep it up.

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  • Jul 6, 2013 - 12:08PM

    1st tunnels cannot be built from Gwader to Xinjiang since tunnels are built on mountainous area not everywhere.
    2nd the distance from Gwader to Xinjiang is not 200k it is around 1500-1800 KM.
    3rd those who says that the $18 billion is for whole link from Gwader to Xinjiang instead for only 200km tunnel are wrong because the contract which was signed is only for 200km tunnel and it is right that to built 200km tunnel itself will cost full $18 billion,if anyone don’t believe and have doubt then look at recently inaugurated 11.2 km rail tunnel in J&K,India which despite using very high technology has taken 7 years to built at the cost of ——–but was completed perfectly as per its original time schedule.Tunnels generally takes years or decade to built depending upon its length.So 200 km tunnel will probably take next 25-30 years or more to built practically and $18 billion is justified.
    4th the tunnel since can only be built on mountainous area will probably be build form Kashgar,Xinjiang to Gilgit as per the plan and whose length is perfectly 200km or may be slightly more and then from the tunnel end in Gilgit to Gwader you need to built around 1300Km long highway to connect them and for that you need additional fund other than this $18 billion since this $18 billion is only for 200km.So where are you going to bring fund to build additional 1300km highway without which the tunnel is useless,Any plan for that??.
    I am an INDIAN but not here to troll ,these are facts and all those Pakistan supporters who support this deal have the right to support but just look at fact and decide does this deal actually worth it??? The fact is this deal gave China to have longer presence in Pakistan, provide its own people jobs and take back its own loan without benefiting Pakistan.It is only Pakistan which is dumb to understand.So that is why the Chinese sitting is smiling at Pakistani in picture above an answer to some commentator who asked why is Chinese smiling at Pakistani minister.Recommend

  • JK
    Jul 6, 2013 - 12:37PM

    Why is this government not stressing it’s policies towards hydel generation.

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  • Jul 6, 2013 - 12:48PM

    1st tunnels cannot be built from Gwader to Xinjiang since tunnels are built on mountainous area not everywhere.
    2nd the distance from Gwader to Xinjiang is not 200k it is 1500-1800 KM.
    3rd those who says that the $18 billion is for whole link from Gwader to Xinjiang instead for only 200km tunnel are wrong because the contract which was signed is only for 200km tunnel and it is right that to built 200km tunnel itself will cost full $18 billion,if anyone don’t believe and have doubt then look at recently inaugurated 11.2 km rail tunnel in J&K,India which despite using very high technology has taken 7 years to built at the cost of ——–but was completed perfectly as per its original time schedule.Tunnels generally takes years or decade to built depending upon its length.So 200 km tunnel will probably take next 25-30 years or more to built practically and $18 billion is justified.
    4th the tunnel since can only be built on mountainous area will probably be build form Kashgar,Xinjiang to Gilgit as per the plan and whose length is perfectly 200km or may be slightly more and then from the tunnel end in Gilgit to Gwader you need to built around 1300Km long highway to connect them and for that you need additional fund other than this $18 billion since this $18 billion is only for 200km.So where are you going to bring fund to build additional 1300km highway without which the tunnel is useless,Any plan for that??.
    I am an INDIAN but not here to troll ,these are facts and all those Pakistan supporters who support this deal have the right to support but just look at fact and decide does this deal actually worth it??? The fact is this deal gave China to have longer presence in Pakistan, provide its own people jobs and take back its own loan without benefitting Pakistan.It is only Pakistan which is dumb to understand.So that is why the Chinese sitting is smiling at Pakistani in picture above an answer to some commentator who asked why is Chinese smiling at Pakistani minister.Recommend

  • Polpot
    Jul 6, 2013 - 3:04PM

    To those who say 10 % MOUs materialise
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I say that this time 90 % will materialise.Pakistan Zindabad.

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  • Polpot
    Jul 6, 2013 - 3:08PM

    @JK: “Why is this government not stressing it’s policies towards hydel generation.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    The pre visit Agenda had said that NS wouls seek an early payment of Chinese Loan of USD 448 Mn for the completion of the 969 MW Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Plant.
    None of the signed agreemnts make any mention of that!.

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  • Polpot
    Jul 6, 2013 - 3:15PM

    Pakistans Burning Needs are Energy
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    The Chinese have cleverly replaced that with Trade and that too a ‘corridor’that is far into future and if realised will serve China more than Pakistan.
    Thats more like promising a hungry man a feast a year later.
    NS needs better advisers and I am also available.

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  • Polpot
    Jul 6, 2013 - 3:21PM

    “” Why is this government not stressing it’s policies towards hydel generation.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    “Meanwhile, the Chinese company tasked with the construction of the stalled Nandipur power plant has agreed to resume work on the project. ”
    This not a Govt to Govt deal but merely the resumption of the stalled Project from which the Chinese Contractor had earlier withdrawn, dont ask me why !
    Terms of resumption are not clear but I can assure you that the Chinese contractor would have extracted his pound of flesh.

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  • Polpot
    Jul 6, 2013 - 3:27PM

    “The document was signed by Strategic Communication Organisation of Pakistan and Huawei Technologies Company.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    This is a business deal for Hua Wei a Chinese Telecome Equipment Mnaufacturer. Including it as a result of the PMs visit shows desperation.
    Btw HuaWei has often lost business due to suspicion that it spies for the Chinese Govt/Army.

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  • Polpot
    Jul 6, 2013 - 3:30PM

    “Separately, in a meeting with the president of China Overseas Port Holding Company, Nawaz expressed his desire to develop Gwadar port on the Hong Kong model.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Nice desire to express.
    So what was the outcome?
    Reminds me that SS had said that the purpose of the visit was self sufficiency and self………whatever.

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  • ABKhan
    Jul 6, 2013 - 4:32PM

    @Vectra:

    “1st tunnels cannot be built from Gwader to Xinjiang since tunnels are built on mountainous area not everywhere”

    Oh really?? I am sure the world famous “Channel tunnel” which connects France and Britain is built on a mountain ………. Does someone need more research on the topic?

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  • Ali tanoli
    Jul 6, 2013 - 4:47PM

    I love u mian ji …

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  • Ki Xinj Chao
    Jul 6, 2013 - 7:10PM

    Indians trolling at this news don’t know anything . China is expanding at exponential rate. It needs labour and waiters for its tourist sector . Pakistan is good source of cheap and obedient labour . Through tunnel Pakistani waiters can travel to China and return in same day. It will ensure two meals for hungry people of Pakistan and our friends will not have to beg anymore .

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  • Polpot
    Jul 6, 2013 - 7:51PM

    @Ki Xinj Chao: “Through tunnel Pakistani waiters can travel to China and return in same day.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Also the Taliban, the LeT, the LeJ and on and on.

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  • BP
    Jul 6, 2013 - 8:12PM

    Apparently it seems good for Pakistan but China’s plan is very deeper. one day they will dominate entire Pakistan, they are imposing their dependency on Pakistan, they will loot everything from Pakistan and Pakistan will be in the picture where they were before 1947.
    If any case there is any dispute between China & Pakistan then China will get 100% advantage because of their domination and dependency.

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  • tanu
    Jul 6, 2013 - 9:24PM

    who will contribute what to the estimated 18 billion? doubtful that it will happen in near future.Recommend

  • Jul 6, 2013 - 9:31PM

    @AB please dont give example of France and Britain since channel Tunnel is an undersea tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains and which is only 50.45 km long and is the separate case but do you think the agreement that China talks about is laying the tunnel throughout the entire length of 1500kms pakistan from gwader to xingiang.if you are talking about building 1500km tunnel then you must live 100yrs to see it.So $18billion on just 200km is just an unwise and silly idea.Nawaz need good economist.Had it been India or any other country they would have never approved the $18 billion 200km tunnel but instead in the same amount would have build around 10000-15000kms of highways network throughout the country.Recommend

  • Jul 6, 2013 - 9:33PM

    @Ki Xinj Chao thank u very much atleast u made pakistanis as china’s waiters.Recommend

  • Tanu
    Jul 7, 2013 - 5:30AM

    Pakistan is huffing and puffing for 4/5 billion owed to IMF and needs a loan to pay due amount over next five years! Now 18 billion is not peanuts. It just is not there period! At least not in the next five to ten years. MOUs are nice.

    Looks like pakistan is fast becoming a colony of china for cheap raw materials for its growth, while the rulers keep dreaming and looting.

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  • ABKhan
    Jul 7, 2013 - 2:06PM

    @Vectra:

    “@AB please dont give example of France and Britain since channel Tunnel is an undersea tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains”

    First you said, tunnels cant be built anywhere other than mountains, and now you are asking me to not give examples of other tunnels. Are you confused my friend?? BTW you still need more research on the topic, Channel tunnel is not only used for Euro-star. Next time I would like to see some research before presenting your flawed logic

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  • Muslim Leaguer
    Jul 7, 2013 - 5:47PM

    This news is really commendable. Mian Nawaz Sharif is the true visionary leader Pakistanis have been aspiring for during the last 14 years…
    Where are the self-styled pseudo-intellectuals who were “confirming” that Mian sahib will visit only Saudi Arabia for economic concessions?? Their “conspiracy theory” is dying its natural death!

    Recommend

  • Muhammad Rizwan Ali
    Jul 7, 2013 - 7:42PM

    The fact is this, India and Indian can not digest,
    GREAT FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN CHINA AND PAKISTAN

    Recommend

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