Pak-China Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor

The Diplomatic Insight - - News -

egional con­nec­tiv­ity is an im­por­tant el­e­ment of the re­cently un­veiled Vi­sion 2025 of the Gov­ern­ment of Pak­istan. The Pak-China Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) is men­tioned as an in­te­gral el­e­ment in re­al­iz­ing the po­ten­tial of re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity and trade with the South Asian As­so­ci­a­tion for Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion (SAARC), the As­so­ci­a­tion of South East Asian Na­tions (ASEAN), the Cen­tral Asia Re­gional Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (CAREC), and the Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ECO). On his part, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping also pro­posed forg­ing “Chi­naPak­istan Com­mu­nity of Shared Destiny” dur­ing his meet­ing with Pres­i­dent of Pak­istan Mam­noon Hus­sain on Fe­bru­ary 19, 2014. Ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese an­a­lysts, the Pak-China Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) serves as the back­bone of Pres­i­dent Xi’s pro­posal. Pres­i­dent Xi’s for­eign pol­icy con­cept of “Com­mu­nity of Shared Destiny” is pred­i­cated on cer­tain key char­ac­ter­is­tics; the most im­por­tant one be­ing the pur­suit of com­mon in­ter­ests through mu­tu­ally im­por­tant as­pect is that it calls for strength­en­ing of trust among na­tions through mu­tual un­der­stand­ing. A ma­jor mile­stone for es­tab­lish­ing the “China-Pak­istan Com­mu­nity of Shared Destiny” was achieved in May 2013 when an agree­ment was signed to es­tab­lish the Pak­istan China Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) to con­nect Pak­istan’s Gwadar Port with Kash­gar in the western part of China close to Pak­istan’s bor­der. China is de­vel­op­ing a Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone (SEZ) in Kash­gar, which would mean rapid de­vel­op­ment of the area re­quir­ing sub­stan­tial ex­ter­nal resources from or through Pak­istan — uti­liz­ing the de­vel­op­ing port city of Gwadar. Pak­istan’s Gwadar Port pro­vides this less-de­vel­oped western part of China an easy ac­cess to the warm wa­ters of the Ara­bian Sea and con­sid­er­ably re­duces the time and resources re­quired for trans­port­ing trade goods to and from western China and West Asia. It is ar­gued that the de­vel­op­ment of the CPEC would bring un­prece­dented eco­nomic re­wards for Pak­istan as well as China. The im­por­tance of the CPEC is to link up with the greater Chi­nese plan of the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt (SREB) that would con­nect China with Europe through Cen­tral Asia. The Chi­nese lead­er­ship for the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt are: pol­icy ex­change, road net­work, cur­rency cir­cu­la­tion, and peo­ple’s friend­ship. Con­nect­ing with the SREB, the CPEC is of im­mense we can say that with se­ri­ous long-term fo­cus on the project by both Pak­istani and Chi­nese lead­er­ships, the CPEC has the po­ten­tial to fur­ther ce­ment the close bonds be­tween the two coun­tries in the days to come. Kash­gar is des­tined to grow ex­po­nen­tially af­ter the op­er­a­tional­iza­tion of the SEZ in the city. If the de­vel­op­ment of Shen­zhen, the city that pi­o­neered the con­cept of SEZs, could pro­vide us with an insight into the growth pat­terns of SEZs, we could ex­pect Kash­gar to grow at the rate of over 20 per­cent per an­num, be­cause Shen­zen grew at the as­tound­ing rate of 25.8 per­cent

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