China and Pakistan signed 20 cooperation agreements worth 10.35 billion yuan of $1.6 billion to strengthen their relationship. The governments also issued the Karamay Manifesto for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a major project under the Chinese government’s Belt and Road Initiative.

China, Pakistan Sign 1.6B Deal To Beef Up CPEC

CPEC is critical to China-Pakistan relationship

CPEC is a huge development project that would connect the Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan and Xinjiang, the northwestern autonomous region of China through a network of highways, railways, and pipelines to transport oil. The project is considered an economic corridor, which is critical to the relationship between China and Pakistan.

The total estimated cost of CPEC was around $46 billion, and it is an extension of China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

The amount of the project was announced by Pakistani official in April when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Islamabad. During his visit, 51 agreements were signed between China and Pakistan. Thirty of the signed agreements were related to CPEC, the biggest connectivity project between the countries since the construction of the Karakorum highway in 1979.

The CPEC will shorten the route for China’s energy imports from the Middle East by approximately 12,000 kilometers.

CPEC Forum will regularly be conducted

According to Xinhua, more than 300 officials and delegates from companies, think tanks and social organizations witnessed the signing of the agreements during the closing ceremony of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Forum.

Different topics were discussed during the forum, which included city-to-city and industrial cooperation, and youth exchange. China and India vowed to improve bilateral economic developments through energy and power projects. The countries also promised to cooperate in education and healthcare.

The Karamay Manifesto indicated that China and Pakistan will conduct the CPEC forum regularly. The manifesto also highlighted the significance of China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives for political trust, economic cooperation, and cultural exchanges of both countries going forward.

The CPEC was one of the six economic corridors created under Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. Chinese officials said the project aims to improve the lives of people.

CPEC is a corridor of unity

Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussain previously stated that CPEC is a “corridor of unity, uniting the people of Pakistan, the provinces of Pakistan, all the regions and areas of Pakistan in a quest for prosperity through different projects.”

Hussain added that the project would improve the lives of Pakistanis and it also serves a main guarantee for the success of the country.

Furthermore, he emphasized that the recently established Parliamentary Oversight Committee would be responsible for monitoring the project. Hussain said would try its best to ensure transparency and participation of local communities to ensure that proper steps are taken.

Last month, it was reported that China through TBEA Xinjiang SunOasis Co built the biggest solar power plant in Pakistan. The company installed 100 megawatts of capacity for $215 million in just three months. The investment was part of CPEC.