China visit

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PRIME Minister Shehbaz Sharif has expressed the confidence that his visit to China would lead to further improvement in relations between the two countries in different spheres of life, especially under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

In an interview with China Global Television Network (CGTN) on the eve of his landmark visit, the Prime Minister said he would also discuss expanding the role of CPEC under the Belt and Road Initiative.

This is the first visit of the Prime Minister to China after assuming the office and carries significance as he is among the first batch of foreign leaders to visit China after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing.

This itself is reflective of the depth of the friendship and the commitment of the leadership of the two countries to strengthen and diversify their mutual relationship as per aspirations of their people.

People of Pakistan have attached much hope to the visit as preparatory work done by the two sides raises hopes that there would be visible and significant forward movement on expanding cooperation under the CPEC initiative.

As has been highlighted by the PM himself, has entered a high-quality second phase, he said that the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has transformed the energy sector and infrastructure in Pakistan.

The road network constructed under CPEC in all parts of the country has shortened the travelling time and now people can easily reach from one place to another.

There is no denying the fact that the CPEC has accelerated the pace of socio-economic development in different regions of Pakistan and provided direct and indirect employment opportunities to thousands of people, especially in the far-flung and backward areas of the country.

The two sides have already reached an understanding to launch three more corridors – green (agriculture), health and IT – besides implementation of the much delayed but critically vital ML-I project and it is hoped that the stage is ready for initiation of physical work on all these fields.

Similarly, the work on Gwadar-related projects could not pick up momentum as originally envisioned by the two countries mainly due to the lacklustre approach adopted by the previous government in Pakistan.

Gwadar is designed to serve as a regional hub for trade and investment and for this to happen all projects that are necessary for its fuller operation should have been implemented at a fast pace.

The present leadership in Pakistan has the necessary vision about economic development of the country and, therefore, one hopes these projects would, once again, get priority.

All hurdles in this regard should be removed through meaningful talks with the Chinese side.

 

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