PM Sharif’s visit to China signals CPEC not only active but expanding

By Fatima Javed | Gwadar Pro Jun 8, 2024

SHENZHEN, June 8 (Gwadar Pro)– Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's recent visit to China underscores a significant diplomatic and economic endeavor aimed at reinvigorating the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and fortifying bilateral ties between the two countries.

The PM's visit sends a clear and strong message: the commitment to CPEC is unwavering, and the partnership between China and Pakistan remains robust. For regional countries considering participation in CPEC, this visit signals that the initiative is not only active but expanding.

In an interview with Gwadar Pro, Khalid Taimur Akram, Executive Director of the Pakistan Research Centre for Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF), highlighted the significant aspects of the PM’s visit to China and how it has facilitated the expansion of CPEC 2.0 from both nations’ perspective.

First, the emphasis of Sharif's visit on enhancing security cooperation to protect Chinese personnel and projects within Pakistan directly addresses one of the primary concerns hindering the CPEC's progress. Both countries are increasing their counter-terrorism cooperation and security assurances and also demonstrating a proactive stance in tackling the root causes of instability.

This collaboration is poised to eradicate terrorism comprehensively, fostering a safer environment for all CPEC-related activities. Pakistan is affirmed in its dedication to maintaining a secure and stable investment.

Second, the discussions about joint ventures in cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), a forward-looking vision for CPEC. By integrating these technologies into key sectors like urban development, healthcare, and agriculture, Pakistan stands to gain significantly from China's expertise.

The prospect of developing smart cities, improving healthcare systems, and enhancing agricultural productivity through AI and IoT could transform Pakistan's socio-economic landscape. This not only promises a better quality of life for millions of Pakistanis but also positions Pakistan as a technological hub in the region, attracting further investments and partnerships.

Third, PM’s visits focused on facilitating industry and technology transfer and boosting manufacturing output through Chinese collaboration, signaling an upgraded and more robust CPEC. This move aims to drive economic growth and strengthen bilateral ties, creating a ripple effect of prosperity across the region.

The establishment of direct commercial ties through forums like the Pakistan-China Business Forum in Shenzhen which exemplifies this vision. Such initiatives will attract Chinese industries to Pakistan, promote substantial investment prospects, and foster economic interdependence.

Fourth, the signing of multiple Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) during Sharif's visit is another testament to the deepening of China-Pakistan relations. These agreements pave the way for future collaborations across a range of industries, from infrastructure development to technological innovation. The MoUs signify a shared commitment to exploring fresh opportunities and advancing mutual interests, reinforcing the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Akram believed that regional countries should participate in CPEC and get socio-economic developments and benefits as CPEC has made rapid progress in economic growth, livelihood improvement, scientific and technological innovation, and green development across Pakistan.

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