by Shafqat Ali
Islamabad, Sept. 30 (Gwadar Pro) - Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can bring prosperity to neighbouring Afghanistan.
"CPEC is set to bring prosperity to the whole region. It will be beneficial for Afghanistan," he said Tuesday evening hours after addressing a conference along with Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah.
CPEC projects would benefit Afghanistan and the entire region. "CPEC will not only benefit Pakistan. It is win-win for the whole region," he added.
The FM said Pakistan would establish markets at Pakistan-Afghan borders to promote business activities in the area.
Earlier, Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu said CPEC was expected to be a game changer in South Asia. As part of China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), CPEC is a $ 62 billion infrastructure development project, in which Afghanistan would likely be part of it. This project is aimed to connect China's Xinjiang region to Pakistan's Gwadar Port.
"China is willing to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan," he had said during a meeting with President Ashraf Ghani's Special Envoy for Pakistan Umer Daudzai on September 15.
Separately, in his recent article, 'China's New Development Pattern: Opportunities for Afghanistan, Source of Confidence for Whole World,' Ambassador Yu wrote that Chinese President Xi Jinping had repeatedly stressed the need for China to form a "new development pattern centering on internal circulation with the domestic and international markets promoting each other."
The year 2020 marked the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Afghanistan, he wrote, adding China was ready "to carry forward our friendship, strengthen cooperation within the Belt and Road framework and make full use of sub-regional cooperation mechanisms such as the trilateral foreign ministers' dialogue among China, Afghanistan and Pakistan to effectively tap the unique geographical advantages of Afghanistan and serve its economic interests."
He added, "We will strengthen regional connectivity and extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor into Afghanistan and towards Central Asian countries."
China will expand imports from Afghanistan and help Afghanistan improve its manufacturing sector. China will, as always, firmly support Afghanistan in sharing more economic dividends in China's new development pattern towards a community of shared future between us, he wrote.
Since 2016, Afghanistan has expressed a strong desire to join CPEC, and has taken the issue with Chinese officials through diplomatic channels.
CPEC should be a great platform for better regional cooperation and connectivity, and this could also serve as a great opportunity for Kabul, Beijing and Pakistan's economic development.
This week, Pakistan CPEC Authority chairman Lt. General Asim Saleem Bajwa (retd) said a number of companies from Gulf region were also interested in establishing industrial units in the Gwadar Free Zone.
"There has been a lot of progress on free zone in the city that spanned over an area of 2400 acres where not only local and Chinese investors but those from Gulf area are also keen to set up their industries," he said.