China calls for ‘upgraded’ CPEC, calls on Pakistan to ensure workers’ safety

China is ready to work with Pakistan to develop an “upgraded version” of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor infrastructure project, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday.

In talks with Ishaq Dar, Pakistan’s new deputy prime minister, Wang hailed the “ironclad” relationship between the neighbouring countries and pledged to advance the CPEC, according to a Chinese foreign ministry readout.

The CPEC is a key project under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, with more than US$65 billion pledged for developments in Pakistan including roads and railways.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for more counterterrorism security cooperation. Photo: Xinhua

“Both sides should effectively implement the Framework Agreement on Industrial Cooperation, strengthening our cooperation in areas like industry, agriculture, mining, new energy and information technology,” Wang said, citing a pact signed by the two nations in 2022.

Wang also pointed to their strategic partnership and noted that Dar had chosen China for his first official visit since becoming deputy prime minister last month, underscoring the importance of the countries’ relationship.

Dar’s visit comes after five Chinese engineers were killed by a suicide bomber in northwestern Pakistan in March. The engineers had been working on a dam project. Pakistan’s military has alleged that the attack was planned in neighbouring Afghanistan and that the bomber was an Afghan national.

On Wednesday, Wang called on Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of Chinese workers and investments in the country.

“[We] hope that Pakistan will do its best to safeguard Chinese personnel in Pakistan and ensure the security of Chinese businesses and projects so they may continue their work in Pakistan without concerns,” Wang said.

“China calls for further deepening of counterterrorism security cooperation between the two countries.”

In response, Dar pledged greater efforts to apprehend the perpetrators of the March attack and to enforce the law to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals and projects in Pakistan. He also called for the international community to unite in a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of terrorism.

Wang and Dar also discussed the global economy and developments in the Middle East during the meeting, according to the Chinese readout.

Pakistan’s deputy prime minister also met Chinese Vice-Premier Ding Xuexiang, who described the two countries as “iron brothers”, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Ding said during the meeting that China was willing to maintain high-level strategic communication with Pakistan and to ensure the CPEC’s development was “high quality”.



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