China, Pakistan Sign Deals Worth USD 1.6 Billion to Beef Up CPEC

K J M Varma/Beijing
China, Pakistan Sign Deals Worth USD 1.6 Billion to Beef Up CPEC

Firming up their cooperation to build the USD 46 billion economic corridor through PoK, China and Pakistan today signed 20 more agreements worth USD 1.6 billion to implement the ambitious CPEC project.

The two countries signed 20 cooperation agreements, worth 10.35 billion yuan (USD 1.6 billion) and issued the "Karamay Manifesto" on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a major project under China's Belt and Road Initiative, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The agreements were signed at the CPEC Forum held at Karamay city in Xinjiang province bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

More than 300 officials and delegates from companies, think tanks and social organisations witnessed the signing of the agreements at the closing ceremony, the report said.

The 3,000-km CPEC connecting Xinjiang with Pakistan's Gwadar Port through PoK is stated to cost USD 46 billion, the amount quoted by Pakistani officials when it was launched by President Xi Jinping during his visit to Islamabad in April.

A total of 51 agreements were signed during Xi's visit of which 30 are linked to the strategic corridor, regarded as the biggest connectivity project between the two countries after the Karakorum highway built in 1979.

It will shorten the route for China's energy imports from the Middle East by about 12,000 kms.

The project includes building of highways, railways as well as pipelines. It is among the six economic corridors conceived under China's Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

The two countries signed 20 more agreements at Karamay to implement the corridor over which India has conveyed its objections to China as it passes through disputed territory.

Chinese officials defend it as commercial project aimed at improving the lives of people.

The two-day event at Karamay featured topics including city-to-city and industrial cooperation, and youth exchange.

The two countries pledged to boost bilateral economic development through energy and power projects, and will also cooperate in education and health care.

According to the Karamay Manifesto, the CPEC Forum will continue to be held regularly.

It praised the significance of the Belt and Road Initiative and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road project for the political trust, economic cooperation and cultural exchanges between China and Pakistan.

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