Amid Indo-Pak tensions, China to invest $1bn in Pakistan
Amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, China is planning to invest $1 billion in development projects in the latter nation, the Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Yao Jing, reportedly said on Saturday. Jing made the announcement while speaking to a delegation at the Islamabad Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI), The Express Tribune reported. Here's more on what happened.
Speaking at the IWCCI delegation, Jing called the pace of development projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) "satisfactory". Notably, it's a $46 billion infrastructure project aimed at deepening Pakistan-China economic ties. The Chinese diplomat also said the second phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) will be finalized in October after which China will grant Pakistan 90% of tariff lines at 0% duty.
Further, Jing said, "Market access will increase Pakistan's exports by $500 million, which will reduce the disparity between bilateral trade." Informing the delegation that Chinese businesswomen will be invited to the fifth Islamabad Expo in November, he said, "In addition, women entrepreneurs of Pakistan would be sent to China to participate in the expos and explore business opportunities."
Separately, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi embarked on a four-day trip to Pakistan and Nepal on Saturday. Yi was hosted by Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad to hold trilateral discussions with Afghan FM Salahuddin Rabbani over the Afghan peace deal and called for an "orderly" pull-out of US troops from Afghanistan. Incidentally, US President Donald Trump on Saturday canceled the peace deal.
On the sidelines, Pakistan and China also discussed the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, which was stripped of its autonomy last month when the Narendra Modi government abrogated Article 370. Pakistan and China observed that India's "unilateral" actions in Kashmir would further "complicate" the situation. In August, China had also backed Pakistan's request for the UN Security Council to hold "closed consultations" on Kashmir.