Pakistan, China explore CPEC expansion to include more countries


ISLAMABAD – Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar visited China to finalize the arrangements for other countries to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He held a joint press conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing. This comes as Pakistan aims to attract foreign investment and move into the second phase of CPEC, which entails a $65 billion investment pledge from China.

The multi-billion dollar CPEC was sstarted in 2015, and focused on critical infrastructure development in transportation and energy. The second phase aims to expand cooperation to include industrial, agricultural, and socio-economic development, including the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), green energy projects, and modernization of agriculture to boost exports.

Islamabad earlier invited several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Germany, UAE, Iran, Indonesia, and Afghanistan to join the mega network project, but progress on these invitations remains limited.

Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar highlighted importance of developing growth, livelihood, innovation, green development, and inclusivity corridors in CPEC’s second phase, emphasizing the need to finalize arrangements for third-party participation.

He also praised development assistance from Beijing and expressed hope for increased Chinese investment in Pakistan across various sectors through the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

The visit of Deputy PM aimed to accelerate the implementation of the Mainline-1 (ML-1) railway project and strengthen cooperation in agriculture, mining, energy, information technology, and industrial sectors.

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