Eastbay Expressway to help Gwadar port play role as hub for international logistics: Zhao Lijian

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The newly inaugurated Eastbay Expressway project will help Gwadar port to play a better role as a hub for international logistics and boost the economic development in the region, said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian Monday.

The other day, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif attended the inauguration ceremony of the Eastbay Expressway, a US$ 153 million project in Gwadar.

This expressway will connect the Gwadar port and the national expressway of Pakistan and also extend the transportation for the locals to other places in Pakistan, the spokesperson said in response to a question asked by APP during his regular briefing held here at the International Press Center (IPC). Zhao Lijian, who paid several visits to the Gwadar port and attended launching ceremony of the project during his posting as Deputy Head of Mission in the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, expressed his pleasure over the completion of the project. “When I was posted in Pakistan, I paid several visits to the Gwadar port. I also once attended the launching ceremony of the Gwadar Eastbay Express Project and I am glad to see the opening of this expressway”, he said.

He remarked that China-assisted project would help Gwadar port to better play its role as a hub for international logistics and boost the economic development in its neighbourhood. Zhao Lijian said that this project was an early harvest projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and also an important transport infrastructure and to promote regional connectivity.

“China will continue to work with Pakistan to ensure the projects are run efficiently so as to better promote regional integration and improve people’s well being”, he added.

The Eastbay Expressway project commenced on October 12, 2017 and was completed after 54 months of construction, becoming an important traffic link that connects Gwadar Port and its free zone with the national road networks, and providing Gwadar port with much-needed on-land access to international cargo distribution.

The expressway starts from China-Pakistan Friendship Avenue in Gwadar Port and converges with the existing Makran Coastal N10 Highway. It has a total length of 19.49KM, with 6-lane-embankment and 4-lane-pavement in each way and a design speed limit of 100km/h.

Zhao said, the China-ASEAN Senior Officials’ Consultation, ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) Senior Officials’ Meeting (APT SOM), East Asia Summit Senior Officials’ Meeting (EAS SOM) and ASEAN Regional Forum Senior Officials’ Meeting (ARF SOM) will be held via videoconference on June 8 and 9. During the meetings, participants will hold discussions on the implementation of the outcomes of leaders’ meetings last year and future development of relevant mechanisms, and exchange views on international and regional issues of mutual interest. Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao will attend the above-mentioned meetings.

Since the end of 2021, China and ASEAN countries have been actively implementing the outcomes of the Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations. Our friendly and cooperative relations have kept deepening. With the smooth entry-into-force and implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, trade among member states has witnessed rapid growth and regional economic integration has made continuous progress. In the meantime, in a world that is still overshadowed by COVID-19 and undergoing profound changes in the international and regional situation, East Asia cooperation is facing complex and severe challenges.

China hopes the upcoming meetings will help to further pool the consensus among regional countries on solidarity, cooperation and joint response to challenges, stick to the right direction of East Asia cooperation, focus on post-COVID recovery and sustainable development, and deepen practical cooperation across the board. The meetings are also expected to accumulate outcomes for the series of foreign ministers’ meetings and leaders’ meetings on East Asia cooperation and make greater contribution to regional peace, development and prosperity.

Zhao Lijian said for the third time, the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting decided by consensus to set up a formal agenda item to discuss “transfer of nuclear materials in the context of AUKUS and its safeguards in all aspects under the NPT” as called for by China. This is a clear indication that the transfer of weapons-grade nuclear materials involved in AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation has drawn close attention and grave concern from the international community.

As China has stressed repeatedly, AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation constitutes severe nuclear proliferation risks, delivers a blow to the international non-proliferation system, exacerbates arms race, and undermines regional peace and stability. The issue of safeguards in the context of AUKUS cooperation has an important bearing on the international non-proliferation system and concerns the interests of all member states. As such, a decision on this matter should be made through discussion by all member states. The US, the UK and Australia should earnestly fulfill their nuclear non-proliferation obligations, support rather than thwart this inter-governmental discussion process, and refrain from conducting nuclear submarine cooperation before parties reach a consensus.

China calls on all member states to support and actively participate in IAEA discussions of AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation to jointly defend the international non-proliferation system with the NPT as the cornerstone and safeguard world peace and security. Zhao Lijian said we have noted that the Cambodian side already responded to this. It said that Cambodia’s constitution does not permit foreign military bases on Cambodian soil and that the renovation of the base serves solely to strengthen the Cambodian naval capacities to protect its maritime integrity and combat maritime crimes. The US has ignored and maliciously speculated and smeared Cambodia’s position. The US has even threatened and pressured Cambodia. This is typical bullying practice.

China and Cambodia are comprehensive strategic cooperative partners enjoying open, transparent, logical and legitimate cooperation in various sectors. Such cooperation has not only delivered benefits to both countries and peoples, but also set a good example of building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. In contrast, the US runs more than 800 military bases overseas; its military expenditure is equivalent to the total amount of the nine countries behind it; it was not at war for only 16 years throughout its nearly 250 years of history; it wantonly interferes in other countries’ internal affairs and sends military aircraft and warships to flex muscles at other countries’ doorstep. Who on earth is undermining global and regional security and stability and spreading disinformation? Anyone can tell.

 

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