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China mulls including Afghanistan in $62b CPEC

AT News

KABUL: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is 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 Gawadar Port.

“China is willing to help facilitate dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan, while also promoting the extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan,” Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan, Wang Yu said on Tuesday. He said this during a meeting with President Ashraf Ghani’s Special Envoy for Pakistan Umer Daudzai.

In his recent article, “China’s New Development Pattern: Opportunities for Afghanistan, Source of Confidence for Whole World,” Mr. Yu writes Chinese President Xi Jinping has 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.”

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, he writes, adding, China is 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 between China, Afghanistan and Pakistan to effectively tap the unique geographical advantages of Afghanistan and serve its economic interests.

We will strengthen regional connectivity and extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor into Afghanistan and towards Central Asian countries, he hinted in his article.

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 adds.

Since 2016, Afghanistan has expressed a strong desire to join the 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 also could also serve as a great opportunity for Kabul, Beijing and Pakistan’s economic development.

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