Highways will boost trade: Chinese experts

Beijing

A highway built in northern Pakistan as a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) opened this week, which experts say will help eradicate rampant terrorism in the region thanks to its role in poverty alleviation. The 47-kilometer-long segment of the highway that was formally opened by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi was completed on schedule in less than three years. It is an important section of the CPEC, an infrastructure modernization project that links China and Pakistan. The highway is the second motorway project in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province after the M-1 motorway built linking Peshawar to Islamabad. “The CPEC is a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative. China hopes it can link China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to the Indian Ocean to not only boost economic growth but also fundamentally address terrorist and extremist-related issues through creating opportunities for development,” Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs of Renmin University of China, told the Global Times. Poverty is a hotbed for terrorism and extremism, he said. For Pakistan and also the entire region, China has wide-ranging ambitions to help Pakistan develop into a middle-income country, Wang said. “This is a great achievement of the Belt and Road Initiative in Pakistan and is very significant for the country’s social development prospects,” Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences said. “The highway will provide cost-effective transportation to millions of local people in towns and valleys along the highway.—NNI

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