Islamabad, Oct 7 (IANS): Pakistan would engage China at the highest level for talks on several big projects in the fields of hydropower, oil refinery and steel mills as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a Minister said here.
Addressing the media a day before Prime Minister Imran Khan’s three-day visit to Beijing, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar on Sunday said that Pakistan would start formal negotiations on additional projects, including a major overland LNG terminal, 7,000-megawatt Bunji hydropower project, Pakistan Steel Mills, oil refineries as well as joint ventures in businesses and science and technology, for agreements, reports Dawn news.
“All the existing projects under the CPEC portfolio have been streamlined and there is no slowdown anywhere,” the Minister said in reference to recent reports that the $52 billion bilateral arrangement had slowed down after Islamabad’s renewed engagements with the US and the International Monetary Fund.
“There will be meaningful engagement on all aspects of Pakistan-China relations during the visit”, he said and expressed the hope that it would take CPEC cooperation to new heights so that benefits from Pakistan’s economic progress could reach the people at the earliest.
Bakhtyar added that Khan, during his meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang, would discuss a number of projects, while technical talks would follow later this month at a joint working group level and then during the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting in November.
The Minister’s remarks come after Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing last month ruled out a slowdown in the projects falling under CPEC, adding that they were set to get a new push.
The CPEC is a key project of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a vast network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.
The multi-billion dollar corridor connects the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.