PAKISTAN and China have agreed to invite third parties to participate in the $60 billion (£48.86bn) China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, a top Pakistani diplomat has said.
The state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported that the country’s ambassador to China, Moinul Haque, told China’s official CCTV last Sunday (8) that the two countries are now working to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan.
India is opposed to the corridor, which will link Xinjiang in China and the Gwadar port in Balochistan, Pakistan, because it passes through Pakistani Kashmir.
The CPEC is the flagship project of China’s multi-billiondollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Haque said the CPEC has been a “game changer and very important” for the socioeconomic development of the country.
“Now, our two countries have agreed to invite third parties to participate in this project. We are now working to extend it to Afghanistan,” he added.
“New projects under CPEC have put in almost 8,000 megawatts of new energy into Pakistan’s system, helping to fulfil not only the needs of the common man but also the industries.
“In Pakistan, we consider China as our best friend. In China, I know, Pakistanis are known as ‘Battie’, the iron brothers, an expression which is only reserved for Pakistan. It’s very heartwarming,” he said.
India has previously expressed its opposition to the participation of third countries in CPEC projects.
“Any actions by any party directly infringe on India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. India firmly and consistently opposes projects in the socalled CPEC, which are in Indian territory … illegally occupied by Pakistan,” the Ministry of External Affairs said last year.