Shiite News: Companies from China’s violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang signed deals worth about $2 billion with Pakistan this week during a visit to Pakistan by Xinjiang’s top official, who sought to cement ties with an important security partner.
Pakistan last year agreed energy and infrastructure projects worth $46 billion with China to set up the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
In return, China will get a free trade zone in Pakistan’s Gwadar port and access to the Arabian Sea. New Pakistani roads will open up routes for Chinese goods into Europe and the Middle East from landlocked Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan.
During a four-day visit to Pakistan, Xinjiang’s Communist Party chief Zhang Chunxian met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, visited Islamabad, Karachi and Gwadar, the official Xinjiang Daily said on Friday.
Highway network planned for CPEC. — Courtesy: Planning Commission
“China and Pakistan have a deep friendship, are good neighbours, friends, brothers and partners,” the newspaper cited Zhang as saying.
“On this trip, I have deeply felt this friendship and the atmosphere surrounding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.”
The $2 billion in agreements covered infrastructure, solar power and logistics, among other projects, signed by companies from Xinjiang with their Pakistan counterparts, the newspaper said, without giving details.
China and Pakistan call each other “all-weather friends” and their ties have been underpinned by long-standing wariness of their common neighbour, India.
But China has also long urged Pakistan to weed out what it says are militants from Xinjiang, who may be holed up in the tribal areas on the Pakistan-Afghan border, a region home to a mix of militant groups.