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

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid