China and Pakistan have extended invite to “any third country” willing to be part of the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by making investment.
CPEC, a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is a combination of transport and energy projects that are under construction throughout Pakistan beginning in 2013. Originally valued at $47 billion, the value of CPEC projects is worth $62 billion as of 2020, according to BBC.
The plan will largely centre on an economic corridor from Gwadar in Pakistan to Kashgar in the Chinese region of Xinjiang.
India has repeatedly registered its protests over the project, saying that it is in violation of its sovereignty as it passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.
During the third meeting of the CPEC Joint Working Group (JWG) on International Cooperation and Coordination (JWG-ICC) held in virtual mode, both sides expressed interest in inviting other countries to make investments in the project, according to a statement by the Foreign Office.
The meeting highlighted that CPEC had broken new ground in strengthening international and regional connectivity, especially in the context of its extension to Afghanistan.
“As an open and inclusive platform, both sides welcomed interested third parties to benefit from avenues for mutually beneficial cooperation opened up by CPEC,” the Foreign Office statement said.
Though it has not been revealed who might be investing in the project, a Global Times report on January 16 suggested that Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Germany might come on board.
Though originally conceived to bring forth jobs and prosperity in Pakistan, CPEC projects have seen massive resistance from certain sections of the people, especially in the Gwadar district of Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
Development in Gwadar, which is the backbone of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), had decelerated during the leadership of former Prime Minister Imran Khan due to friction between the two countries, the Nikkei Asia news agency reported.
(With inputs from agencies)
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