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China and Pakistan to Upgrade CPEC for Enhanced Industrial and Security Cooperation

BEIJING: China is prepared to collaborate with Pakistan to develop an “upgraded version” of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi informed his Pakistani counterpart on Wednesday.

During discussions with Ishaq Dar, Pakistan’s new deputy prime minister, Wang emphasized the “ironclad” relationship between the two countries and committed to advancing CPEC, according to the South China Morning Post.

“Both sides should effectively implement the Framework Agreement on Industrial Cooperation, strengthening our cooperation in areas like industry, agriculture, mining, new energy, and information technology,” Wang stated, referencing a 2022 agreement between the nations, as per a Chinese foreign ministry readout.

The two officials co-chaired the fifth round of the China-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, the Foreign Office announced in a statement. Deputy Prime Minister Dar described relations with China as the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Dar also underscored the threats to regional peace and security posed by India’s illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir and praised China’s principled stance on the issue.

The Foreign Office also noted that Wang hosted a lunch in Dar’s honor. Wang and Executive Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang, who also met with Dar, urged Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of Chinese workers and investments.

Wang expressed Beijing’s hope that “Pakistan will do its best to safeguard Chinese personnel in Pakistan and ensure the security of Chinese businesses and projects so they may continue their work in Pakistan without concern,” Anadolu Agency reported.

“China’s determination to deepen cooperation with Pakistan will not waver,” Wang stated while urging Pakistan to address the concerns of Chinese enterprises and personnel.

Dar pledged increased efforts to apprehend those responsible for the March attack and to enforce laws ensuring the safety of Chinese nationals and projects in Pakistan. He also called for a united international stance against all forms of terrorism.

According to the Chinese report, the meeting also addressed global economic issues and developments in the Middle East.

In a meeting with Chinese Vice-Premier Ding Xuexiang, Dar expressed condolences for the March 26 Shangla attack and assured zero tolerance for its perpetrators. State broadcaster CCTV reported Xuexiang’s commitment to maintaining high-level strategic communication with Pakistan and ensuring the high-quality development of CPEC.

According to a Foreign Office statement, both parties noted progress in the energy and infrastructure sectors under CPEC. They expressed confidence in the benefits of phase two, which focuses on industry, agriculture, and mineral development. They also discussed connectivity via the Khunjerab border crossing and a simplified visa regime.

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