On a trip that will fetch multibillion-dollar Chinese investment bonanza, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Saturday that Pakistan will help China fight extremists that Beijing says are active in the unruly far western region of Xinjiang.
Premier Nawaz, who is currently touring China, met China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in the Chinese capital. He told President Xi that his country would “continue to resolutely fight the East Turkestan Islamic Movement terrorist forces”, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement following the meetings in Beijing.
Pakistan will increase its coordination with China on Afghanistan too, so as to “jointly maintain regional peace and stability”, Nawaz said. Pakistan will also do all it can to guarantee the safety of Chinese companies and workers in the country, he added, who have in the past been attacked by militants.
China blames the East Turkestan Islamic Movement for carrying out attacks in Xinjiang, home to the Uighur community, though many foreign experts doubt the group’s existence in a cohesive group.
According to APP, matters of mutual interest, including energy, economic relations and regional situation came up for discussion during the prime minister’s meetings with the Chinese leadership. He said Pakistan-China friendship enjoyed across-the-board political, institutional and popular support in Pakistan. He stressed that his visit would further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.
The Chinese leaders reiterated a desire to continue to support Pakistan in developing economy and maintaining stability, since China and Pakistan were ‘iron friends’ and all-weather partners of strategic cooperation. They stated that they would create a green channel for timely release of funds for development projects initiated by China in Pakistan.
Premier Nawaz was pleased that over the last year both sides have achieved better understanding on various projects related to energy, road and infrastructure. He pledged that Pakistan supported China’s stance on all major issues, especially on those involving China’s core interests.
1. Investment bonanza
During Nawaz’s trip, the two countries signed 19 agreements and memorandums of understanding mainly on projects relating to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and electricity generation. The prime ministers of the two countries oversaw the signing of the agreements that pave way for Chinese state-owned companies to help build at least four new power stations in Pakistan, while the deals also cover the supply and mining of coal, the prime minister’s press office said.
“The deals being signed between China and Pakistan are worth $42 billion. The whole investment is being made by China,” said Amir Zamir, the spokesman for Pakistan’s ministry of planning and development. “There is no loan or aid for the energy projects, but pure investment by the Chinese,” he told AFP.
The deals include Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement; Framework Agreement on Provision of Concessional Loan; CPEC Energy Projects Cooperation; Government Concessional Loan Agreement on Construction of Cross-Border Optical Fiber Cable System between China and Pakistan for International Connectivity of Voice/Data Traffic Project; and Framework Facility Agreement on Suki-Kinari hydropower project between China EXIM Bank and Suki-Kinari hydropower project.
The two sides also signed an MoU on the outline of the Long-Term Plan of CPEC, Capacity Building for Development of CPEC between NDRC of China and Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform of Pakistan, minutes of the 3rd JCC of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Surface Mine in Block-II of Thar coalfield and the Engro Thar 2x330MW coal-fired power plant.
The two countries also signed the Memorandum of Facilitation Agreement on Muzaffargarh 660MW coal-fired power project between CMEC and Government of Punjab, Pakistan, MOA relating to development of 2x660MW coal-fired power project at Qadarabad, Sahiwal, 99MW UEP power project EPC Framework Agreement, Quaid-e-Azam Solar Energy Park 900MW solar power station project between ZTE Energy and Government of Punjab, Implement Agreement on Dawood 50MW wind farm between Hydro China Corporation and AEDB Pakistan, EPC Agreement of 6.5 Mt/a open pit mine in Thar Block I, Coal Supply Contract under the Project of Integrated Mine Mouth Coal Power Plant in Thar Block I and MoU for Development of Thermal Power Assets in Pakistan.
Pakistan and China also signed Framework Agreement on Ruyi-Masood Textile Industrial Park and 2 x 135MW self-generation coal-fired power plant between Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Ruyi-Masood Textile Company of Pakistan and MoU on coal-fired power plant in Port Qasim.
Premier Nawaz Sharif also addressed a dialogue on ‘Strengthening Connectivity Partnership’ where he urged the Asian leaders to make sincere efforts for their societies and the people to have greater cultural, historical, and ideological understanding of each other. He appreciated China for taking a remarkable initiative in hosting such event and inviting Asian leaders.
He told the participants about Pakistan’s desire for infrastructure development and China’s role in helping Pakistan meet its development needs. “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, linking China’s West to Pakistan’s southern port of Gwadar in close proximity to the Middle East, is a flagship project which both governments are pursuing vigorously,” he added.
The prime minister said Pakistan views the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as a catalyst for the development of our two countries and for regional economic cooperation, which reflects President Xi’s vision of building a Silk Road Economic Belt and a Maritime Silk Road.
He further said that they were living in an age of globalisation. “Asia is bursting with amazing opportunities. The growth rates of many Asian economies have been dynamic and resilient, going as high as up to 7.5 per cent, despite anemic global recovery in post- 2008 Global Financial Crisis,” he added.
The prime minister raised a number of related questions arising out of steps to manage such a monumental transformation, creation of economic opportunities for billions of people living in our region, and more importantly, the issues of poverty and wealth inequality. He viewed solution to all these questions in increasing and enhancing connectivity in the Asian countries.
List of agreements signed
1. Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement
2. Framework agreement for concessional loan
3. Minutes of 3rd JCC of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
4. MoU on outline of Long-Term CPEC Plan
5. MoU on capacity building for development of CPEC
6. Agreement on CPEC energy projects cooperation
7. Loan for cross-border fiber-optic system
8. MoU on surface mine in Thar Coal Field Block-II/ Engro-Thar Power Plant
9. Agreement on Suki-Kinari Hydro Power Project
10. Agreement on Muzaffargarh Coal Power Project
11. MOA on Coal Power Project at Qadarabad
12. UEP Power Project EPC Framework Agreement
13. Quaid-e-Azam Solar Energy Park
14. Implement Agreement on Dawood Wind Farm
15. EPC Agreement on open pit mine in Thar Block I
16. Coal supply contract for power plant in Thar Block I
17. MoU for thermal power assets in Pakistan
18. Agreement on Ruyi-Masood Textile Industrial Park
19. MoU on Coal Power Plant in Port Qasim
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2014.