News / Asia

Pakistan's PM Heads to China for Talks

Newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, left, arrives at the Prime Minister''s house to review guards of honor in Islamabad, Pakistan, June 5, 2013.
Newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, left, arrives at the Prime Minister''s house to review guards of honor in Islamabad, Pakistan, June 5, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
— Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif heads to China Wednesday for a six-day official visit -- his first foreign trip after assuming office. Authorities are hoping to boost economic and security cooperation.
 
Sharif is visiting Beijing just weeks after his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang visited Islamabad and it comes at a time when Pakistan faces its worst energy crisis. Power outages lasting up to an entire day in parts of the country have sparked violent protests and further stalled the already weakened national economy.
 
Officials in both the countries say the Pakistani leader will seek assistance on how to ease his country’s energy troubles and increase Chinese investment in economic infrastructure development.
 
Foreign ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said the focus of Sharif’s visit is essentially economic.
 
“And, therefore, all the projects and all the agreements will have an economic focus," Chaudhry said.
 
Economic cooperation between Pakistan and China has seen significant expansion in recent years. Bilateral annual trade exceeded $12 billion last year and there are more than 120 Chinese companies doing business in Pakistan.
 
The two countries also have close cooperation in the field of civil nuclear technology. Pakistan has installed two nuclear power plants with Chinese support each with a capacity of 300 megawatts while work on another two is under way.  
 
China has recently taken over operation of Pakistan’s strategically important Gwadar port. Prime Minister Sharif told Chinese media ahead of his trip to Beijing that the main emphasis of his discussions with the Chinese leadership will be on clinching a proposed economic corridor that would link the southwestern Pakistani port with China’s western Xinjiang region.
 
“The China-Pakistan economic corridor is a project which would change the fate of this region," he noted. "So now that the management of Gwadar has been handed over to China and we expect that Gwadar is going to become a very important economic hub, or port in the Arabian Sea, which of course is also beneficial to China, so an economic corridor taking off from Kashgar [in Xinjiang] to Gwadar [port] is a game-changer as far as this region is concerned.”
 
The deep-sea Gwadar port is located near the Strait of Hormuz, which is the gateway for about 20 percent of the world’s oil. Both China and Pakistan have rejected concerns that the facility could serve as a Chinese naval base.
 
Analysts believe a deadly Taliban insurgency plaguing the country’s northwest, rising sectarian bloodshed and a violent turf war involving political parties and criminal gangs in the country’s commercial hub, Karachi, have added to the problems of policymakers trying to revive the badly ailing economy.
 
Pakistani officials and analysts also dismiss suggestions the recent closeness in their country’s relations with China stems from uneasiness in their diplomatic relations with the United States. Differences over how to conduct their counter-terrorism campaign has strained ties between Islamabad and Washington.
 
Fazal-ur Rehman with Islamabad’s privately-run Strategic Studies Institute, believes those tensions have had no impact on what he calls the “time-tested all-weather” Pakistan-China friendship.
 
“I think it [Pakistan-China relationship] is beyond any external factors because it has been an evolving relationship and it has been improving with the passage of time,” Rehman said.
 
Security issues are also expected to come under discussions during Sharif’s visit. While Pakistan is closely cooperating to help China curb a Muslim rebellion in the restive Xinjiang region, recent deadly attacks on Chinese experts in Pakistan have been a cause of concern for Beijing.
 
The latest attack took place more than a week ago in northern Pakistan, where suspected Islamist Taliban militants shot dead 10 foreign mountain climbers, including two Chinese. The violence has renewed demands by Chinese officials for enhancing safety of their nationals in Pakistan.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid