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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid