Today, China’s President Xi Jingping appeared at a joint press conference with Pakistan’s President Nawaz Sharif to announce the signing of an important economic and treaty agreement between the Peoples Republic of China and Pakistan. Under the terms of the new accord, China will invest some $46 billion to assist Pakistan in developing an energy and transportation infrastructure required to create a Pakistan-China Economic Corridor. Roads, pipelines and railway lines will link Western China with the Pakistani port city of Gwadar.
The two leaders reaffirmed their countries’ intention to combat international terrorism during the press conference. Additionally, President Sharif expressed gratitude for China’s decision to extend full membership to Pakistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (the “SCO). The Pakistani leader stated:”Friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.”
The U. S. Congressional Research Service calculates that since 2002, United States has given Pakistan $31 billion in financial assistance. China’s new agreement will exceed that amount by several billion dollars. China plans to assist Pakistan in building power plants that will provide 16,400 megawatts of power, an effort designed to end the frequent power outages that afflict many Pakistanis. Reportedly, loans will cover up to $10 billion of the amount required to construct the plants.
The agreement between Pakistan and China reflects China’s increasingly significant role in international affairs as an economic power in Asia. The proposed economic corridor crosses Baluchistan according to the Examiner. Paul Mathieson and others will be keeping an eye on things.