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China, Pakistan agree to extend Belt and Road Initiative to Afghanistan

AT

Kabul: China and Pakistan have agreed to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of the Belt and Road Initiative to Afghanistan.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari pledged to work together on Afghanistan’s reconstruction process, including taking the CPEC to Afghanistan, Pakistan’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

In January 2023, Afghanistan administration signed its first global oil production contract from the northern Amu Darya basin with China National Petroleum Corporation’s subsidiary.

In April 2023, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum said a Chinese company Gochin expressed interest in investing $10 billion in the country’s lithium deposits.

During their meeting in Islamabad, the two ministers reiterated the key significance of ML-1 project under the CPEC framework and agreed to advance its earliest implementation. The project involves up-gradation and doubling of Main Line-1 (ML-1) from Karachi to Peshawar and Taxila to Havelian, a total distance of 1,733 km.

“The two sides agreed to continue their humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people and enhance development cooperation in Afghanistan, including through extension of CPEC to Afghanistan,” the statement adds.

Both foreign ministers also stressed the need to unfreeze Afghanistan’s overseas financial assets which has been blocked from accessing and held overseas on concerns that the funds will be used for terror activities.

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