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China, Pakistan Discuss Regional Security


Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif address reporters at the prime minister's house in Islamabad, April 20, 2015.

Pakistan sought to alleviate China's concerns on terrorism as President Xi Jinping wrapped up his two-day trip to the South Asian country.

While the two countries focused on China’s projected $46 billion of investment and loans to develop an economic corridor through Pakistan, terrorism and militancy also featured heavily in their discussions.

Addressing the Pakistani parliament, Xi hailed the "profound friendship" between Pakistan and China and praised Islamabad's anti-terror efforts, saying the two countries "share a common stake in security."

"Over the years Pakistan has overcome all kinds of difficulties and contributed greatly to the security and stability of China's western border areas, and this is something that we shall never forget," Xi said.

In his own address to lawmakers, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Islamabad and Beijing "will fight together to eliminate the menace of terrorism."

Work to be done

Sharif also assured Xi that “Pakistan considers China’s security as it’s own security," but acknowledged there was still work to be done. “Our joint efforts in this regard have succeeded, but we need to intensify these efforts to accomplish our objectives.”

Xi, who arrived in Islamabad Monday, told Pakistani lawmakers that “China will assist Pakistan in strengthening its capacity for fighting terrorism and ensuring security. And we will work with Pakistan to tackle rising non-traditional security threats so as to provide a reliable security guarantee for bilateral economic cooperation and common development.”

China has long been concerned that Muslim militants in its western Xinjiang region may be getting training and support from fighters in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.

Energy, infrastructure projects

In addition to security talks, the visit saw the two sides launch a projected $46 billion in energy and infrastructure projects.

The projects focused on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a collection of roads, rail links, and gas and oil pipelines going from Pakistan’s southern seaport of Gwadar to southwestern China.

It is part of China’s wider vision to revive the ancient Silk Road, and join Asia to Europe via road and sea links.

A separatist insurgency in Pakistan’s restive Baluchistan province and Islamist militancy elsewhere have hampered development of the Silk Road.

Xi’s trip, originally scheduled for last year, was postponed due to security concerns resulting from anti-government protests in Pakistan.