Economic corridor, Gwadar Port high on agenda of Xi's visit to Pakistan

Updated: 2015-04-20 10:05


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BEIJING - President Xi Jinping will start a state visit to Pakistan on Monday, his first trip to the South Asian country since he assumed presidency in 2013.

During the visit, China and Pakistan will sign deals on a wide range of issues, from energy and infrastructure to education and culture, which will inject fresh and powerful impetus into the deepening of the China-Pakistan friendship and comprehensive cooperation.

And high on Xi's agenda would be talks over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is planned to connect Kashgar in China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to the southwestern Pakistani port of Gwadar.

Vital energy link 

Gwadar Port, a warm-water, deep-sea port, is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf at Gwadar in the province of Baloschistan of Pakistan.

Just outside the Strait of Hormuz, the port is adjacent to the key oil routes in and out of the Persian Gulf. It is also the nearest warm-water seaport to the landlocked, but energy rich, Central Asian republics.

During Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Pakistan in May 2013, the two countries agreed to build an economic corridor connecting the Pakistani port to China's Kashgar city in Xinjiang.

The CPEC will shorten China's routes of oil and gas imports from Africa and the Middle East for thousands of kilometers, making Gwadar a potentially vital link in China's supply chain.

Khalid Mahmood, president of the Islamabad Council of World Affairs, said the economic corridor can bring both countries development and prosperity.

"It can help China get connected with the Gulf region, Africa, Europe and other parts of the world in an easier way and in a shorter time. Meanwhile, for Pakistan, there will be more business and trade activities in the region. Pakistan will also become the center of energy transmission from the Gulf," Mahmood said.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Pakistan and attend the Asian-African Summit and activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference in Indonesia from April 20 to 24.

April 22
Attend the opening ceremony of the Asian-African Summit;
Meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo;

April 23
Bilateral meetings;
Attend the closing ceremony of the Asian-African Summit;

April 24
Historical walk from Savoy Homann Hotel to Gedung Merdeka;
Attend activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference;