Long-term outline for ‘flagship’ economic corridor also signed
Beijing and Islamabad signed agreements on Saturday worth billions of dollars for investment in Pakistan, mainly in the energy sector, which Pakistan’s prime minister said will help his country “solve energy problems and sustain economic growth”.
The signing “further consolidated Pakistan’s confidence in cooperation with China”, Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif told President Xi Jinping when they met at the Great Hall of the People.
The documents were signed earlier on Saturday, after Premier Li Keqiang’s meeting with Sharif. The deals covered cooperation in financing, investment and other measures related to coal-fired power plants, hydroelectric and wind-generated power, solar power stations, coal mines and coal supplies.
There was also an agreement for cooperation on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor energy projects.
Radio Pakistan, the country’s state radio network, said the agreements involved billions of dollars to be invested in Pakistan.
“I believe it will give a strong boost to the building of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Li said during the meeting.
The corridor was proposed in an agreement reached during Li’s visit to Pakistan in May 2013. It will connect Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region with Pakistan’s Gwadar Port.
The two governments also signed an outline of a long-term plan for the economic corridor on Saturday.
Calling the corridor a “flagship” project to strengthen China’s connectivity with neighboring countries, Li said the initiative set the strategic framework for pragmatic cooperation.
The two nations should facilitate the development of Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan, strengthen cooperation in energy and electricity projects and plan quality industrial parks along the corridor, he said.
Sharif welcomed Chinese investment and promised to ensure the safety of Chinese people and institutions in his country.
President Xi described China and Pakistan as “iron friends” during his meeting with Sharif later in the day.
“Iron friends” in Chinese suggests trustworthiness.
Xi said China will continue to support Pakistan in developing its economy and maintaining stability.
Meanwhile, China is willing to work with Pakistan to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, he said, and it supports Pakistan in improving relations with India.
Xinhua contributed to this story.