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CPEC’s new growth points to further boost China-Pakistan long-term economic ties: Analysts

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BEIJING: The new growth points created by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will further boost economic ties between the two countries in the long run, as they deploy more resources in technological collaboration, infrastructure development and people-to-people exchanges, Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges said on Monday.
The CPEC is not targeted at any third party and aims to bring benefits to the entire region and become an important driving force for regional integration, he told China Daily.
The CPEC has progressed in four major agreed areas: ports, transportation infrastructure, energy and industrial cooperation.
To date, nine projects have been completed and 13 are under construction, and it has so far created 70,000 direct jobs for the local people, data from the National Development and Reform Commission show.
Currently, 15 energy projects in Pakistan, with a total capacity of 11,110 megawatts are planned as a priority, of which, 11 are under construction or in operation with a total capacity of 6,910 MW.
Wei stressed that the CPEC is development-oriented and has adopted advanced technologies and strict environmental protection standards.
According to Li Gang, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing any CPEC project, whether at the planning or construction stage, is equally negotiated, fully discussed and jointly implemented by China and Pakistan.
These projects strictly follow the principle of market orientation and the international business model, said For the next step, Li said China will also explore more pragmatic cooperation with Pakistan in such areas as poverty alleviation and healthcare via development of the CPEC.
Another analyst and deputy director with the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Li Xiangyang said, Pakistan has a special status on the Belt and Road initiative concerning its position as China’s neighbour and its importance in South Asia.
The friendly and good relations and cooperation with Pakistan can serve as a model for China to cooperate with other countries in the future, he said.
He disagreed with the accusation that the CPEC is behind the economic challenges being faced by Pakistan.
“The international borrowing is normally risky and should not be taken as an excuse to criticize the Belt and Road initiative,” Li Xiangyang said, pointing out that such criticism indicates a misunderstanding of the initiative.
“The first stage of the CPEC focused on infrastructure construction, which is costly and takes time to realize progress. Visible benefits will emerge following the construction of industrial and economic parks under the CPEC,” Li said.
China is considering setting up an agricultural technology demonstration center in Pakistan to improve local agricultural technology, production efficiency and value-added agricultural industry.
These moves will strengthen scientific and technological cooperation with Pakistan, establish a China-Pakistan Joint Research Center for Earth Science, strengthen scientific research on disaster reduction and prevention, promote ecological and environmental protection, and help develop green and sustainable growth in Pakistan, said Sun Fuquan, a researcher at the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative, is a network of highways, railways, pipelines and optical cables currently under construction throughout Pakistan.
The 3,000-kilometer-long corridor starts from China’s Kashgar and ends at Pakistan‘s Gwadar Port, connecting the Silk Road Economic Belt in the north with the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in the south.

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