On Monday during the opening session of the 4th Trilateral Dialogue between Afghanistan, China, and Pakistan the Chinese envoy Yao Jing made an important statement regarding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), “Kabul can also act as a bridge to help expand connectivity between East, South, and Central Asian regions,” according to The News.
“China would also push the development process in war-torn Afghanistan as it is a facilitator of better dialogue and connection between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Jing continued.
Recent CPEC Developments
Last week, Pakistan invited Turkey to join the project. “Pakistan highly values its relations with Turkey, and the new government desires to further strengthen relations between Islamabad and Ankara,” said speaker of the Pakistan National Assembly, Asad Qaiser said during a meeting with Turkey’s ambassador in Islamabad.
Saudi Arabia agreed to join CPEC at the end of September of this year, “Saudi Arabia…will be our third strategic economic partner in CPEC, and Saudi Arabia is expected to bring massive direct investments to the project,” Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said.
Chaudry clarified that China was informed of the decision, which took place days prior to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi which has put Saudi Arabia’s history of human rights violations into the international conscience.
“We have assured the Saudi leadership that we will continue to provide security to their country and provide strategic support wherever needed,” Chaudry added when speaking about the deal in September.
Why China And Pakistan Want To Add Afghanistan
The $64 billion project has the goal of providing China cheaper access to Africa and the Middle East. The addition of Afghanistan to the initiative would make sense geographically and economically, “CPEC is not against any country, it is purely an economic initiative aimed at the peaceful development of its neighborhood,” Jing further commented on the offer to Afghanistan, “The Pakistani government is working hard for a political settlement of the Afghan issue and China would cooperate with both Pakistan and Afghanistan to achieve peace,” he continued.
The News also reported that Chinese officials are under the impression that Afghanistan sees the expansion of CPEC into the country as a way to strengthen their relations with others in the region. The Pakistani government details the economic benefits China and Pakistan have seen since the beginning of the deal:
China and Pakistan are blessed with different natural endowments, and at different stages of economic development, industrialization and urbanization. China has advantages in infrastructure construction, high-quality production capacity in equipment manufacturing, iron & steel and cement industries as well as financing for investment. While Pakistan owns rich human and natural resources, huge potential for economic growth and broad market prospects besides a geo-strategic location. The orderly and timely ow of economic factors in both countries along the CPEC will significantly improve the resource allocation efficiency and bring into full play the comparative advantage of each country.
“The CPEC will greatly speed up the industrialization and urbanization process in Pakistan and help it grow into a highly inclusive, globally competitive and prosperous country capable of providing high-quality life to its citizen,” the report adds.
The addition of a growing economy in Afghanistan would see further economic advantages for participating CPEC partners.